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A Victorian mother and daughter falsely claimed more than $2 million in education subsidies while pretending to provide engineering training, including to already qualified engineers at Jetstar Airways.
Rebecca Taylor recruited her daughter Heather Snelleksz to help with the scam involving two Victorian TAFE providers between 2013 and 2015.
The women trained already qualified Jetstar engineers.Credit: Peter Rae
Neither was qualified to provide engineering training. Taylor worked in middle management, delivering some staff training at Metro Trains, while Snelleksz was a hairdresser.
Despite a staff member at South West TAFE in Warrnambool being aware of their lack of experience, they were able to secure a contract through that institute between September 2013 and May 2014.
They submitted more than $1.8 million in invoices for training that was never provided, all of which were paid in full.
“Your only effort was what you both saw as the tedious but lucrative task of filling out forms and spreadsheets,” Victorian County Court Judge Gerard Mullaly said on Monday.
County Court of Victoria.Credit: Darrian Traynor
The women’s greed was made clear in text messages between them, he said, noting Taylor told Snelleksz in one that “I know it’s a boring process, but just sit there saying ‘show me the money’ each time you finish one”.
Taylor, 55, was sentenced to eight months behind bars for her involvement after pleading guilty to two charges of obtaining financial advantage by deception.
She appeared by video link from prison and was also ordered to complete 400 hours of unpaid community work on her release.
Snelleksz, 39, who appeared by video link from the front seat of an at-times moving car, was sentenced to 250 hours of unpaid work after admitting the same offences.
Between November 2014 and October 2015 the women defrauded the Kangan Institute.
They had approached Jetstar Airways to offer separate training through their company TayTell.
Personal details provided for that training were then used to sign up the airline employees and others for a certificate four in engineering through the institute, in exchange for more than $220,000.
Mullaly noted none of the employees needed the training, particularly those who were already qualified engineers.
The scam crumbled when the Kangan Institute contacted the individuals directly, prompting several to contact the organisation questioning the certificate.
Mullaly described their execution of the scheme as brazen and said it was not just a matter of them exaggerating the level of training they provided, but of scamming millions of dollars while providing nothing at all.
Discussions over repayments of funds are ongoing, with the women expected to return to court in February for finalisation of those matters.
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