Conviction for transfer of cash from flatmate's account

A WOMAN who transferred $1600 out of her housemate's bank account for rent she believed she was owed has been placed on a suspended jail sentence and ordered to repay the money.

Hayley Elena Lei, 29, yesterday pleaded guilty to fraud at the Ipswich Magistrates Court.

The court heard Lei was helping one of the men she was living with, who could only speak Samoan, set up his bank account with ANZ. After he had problems setting up his internet banking account, he gave her his password written on a piece of paper.

On January 13, Lei logged into his account and transferred $1600 in a series of transactions from the man's account into her husband's account.

The man reported Lei to the police on the matter, telling them she was the only person other than himself to have the password for the account.

The court heard Lei had a history of committing similar offences.

Defence lawyer Matthew Fairclough said Lei did not dispute she took money she was not entitled to, but said Lei believed it was owed to her due to an ongoing rental dispute between the pair.

Magistrate Donna McCallum said regardless of what she was owed, Lei did not have the right to log into the man's bank account and take his money.

"You may have … thought there was some justification for your actions," she said.

"But people go to jail for a long time for this sort of thing."

She ordered Lei pay $1600 restitution and sentenced her to three months jail, suspended for one year.


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