Christopher Brian Rodgers faced Brisbane District Court, pleading guilty to fraud over $30,000, attempted fraud over $100,000 and obtain or steal another person's identity.
Christopher Brian Rodgers faced Brisbane District Court, pleading guilty to fraud over $30,000, attempted fraud over $100,000 and obtain or steal another person's identity.

How this dad stole $94,000 from our regional jobs scheme

A SOUTHEAST Queensland courier driver used a sophisticated system of stolen identification, fabricated documents, bank accounts and falsified payslips to steal $94,000 from a scheme designed to get regional Queenslanders working.

Ipswich father of two Christopher Brian Rodgers on Wednesday faced Brisbane District Court, pleading guilty to fraud over $30,000, attempted fraud over $100,000 and obtain or steal another person's identity.

He could be out on parole in less than two years and he plans to move to Toowoomba to set up home with a woman he started dating while behind bars three months ago.

Rodgers - who has an extensive criminal history with dishonesty offences - claimed he was the "minion" of a bloke he met while previously in prison, the court heard.

The 33-year-old insisted to police and the court that he was employed by this man to help take advantage of a State Government scheme designed to increase job growth in the regions.

The government provides regional businesses that take on new staff with reimbursements of $15,000-$20,000.

Rodgers would submit fake applications for reimbursement to the government.

A total of 80 submissions for the grants were made, with the government approving and paying 16 grants worth a total of $94,000.

A further 64 applications - valued at $384,000 - were signed off by bureaucrats but were not paid out.

The offending happened between May and August last year, with Rodgers claiming he only earned a small portion of the money, despite police finding evidence he was transferring large sums of cash around bank accounts created with stolen or false IDs.

Police intercepted a phone call Rodgers made while in prison where they learned he had used some of the money to buy a car, although it is not known for how much.

Rodgers also claimed he used the cash for living expenses.

During Wednesday's sentencing, Judge William Everson made it clear he was not impressed with the defence barrister's claim her client had been fully open with police.

Judge Everson said the defendant refused to name the other man, that he failed to hand over evidence showing he was not the instigator and that there were no admissions as to where the money - or the car - ended up.

"I did not take the view that he was particularly cooperative," Judge Everson said, noting that none of the money was - or will ever be - recovered.

"He has minimised his offending - he has not identified the driving force.

"This was serious offending designed to defraud the public of its money."

Judge Everson took into account Rodgers' early plea of guilty while noting the offences happened while the defendant was on parole and also on suspended sentence.

Rodgers was sentenced to five years, but this is to be served alongside an existing jail term.

He will be eligible for parole in April 2021. - NewsRegional

News Corp Australia


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