How fraud Heather Foster duped three childcare companies
A WOMAN masqueraded as a childcare director by forging TAFE qualifications so she could secure roles at three different companies.
Despite having no qualifications, Heather Clare Foster, 40, managed to secure top roles at three Brisbane childcare companies in four years, pocketing $80,000 of net profit while also stealing cash from one of the centres.
Foster appeared in Brisbane District Court on Wednesday after pleading guilty to a raft of fraud and stealing charges spanning from 2013 until 2017.
The court was told Foster's deceit began when she was left with no work after Australia's once-largest childcare provider, ABC Learning Centres, collapsed in 2008.
Prosecutor Steve Kissick said Foster first forged an Advanced Diploma in Child Services to win the role of childcare director of Nazareth Lutheran Church at Woolloongabba.
Mr Kissick said during her time at the centre she also stole $5400 cash from international parents by pocketing the cash and then pretending the children had never attended the centre.
"The fact that she not only got the job … but she was able to identify and manipulate a loophole in the management of cash payments … smacks of dishonesty," Mr Kissick said.
She was fired from that role after nine months when an "irregularity" was picked up by the Queensland Government and the police.
Three days later she reinvented herself, presenting another forged certificate to secure childcare trainer roles at Shafston International College in Kangaroo Point and Training for Me in Camp Hill.
Defence lawyer Jason Buckland told the court Foster had worked in child care for six years but with the closure of ABC Learning Centres had found herself "unable to re-enter employment".
Chief Judge Kerry O'Brien said the money she was paid "would not have occurred were it not for the forged documents".
Foster was sentenced to three and a half years' jail to be suspended after 17 months.