Bogus car claim ends up in court
A FATHER who helped his son make a bogus $40,000 insurance claim on his car was sentenced to nine months in prison, suspended for two years, in the Proserpine Magistrate's Court on Monday.
Wayne Douglas Priddle, from Midge Point, was charged with attempting to dishonestly obtain money from an insurance company after his son made a complaint to police, on October 5 last year, that his car had been stolen from his home, and then made an insurance claim.
"Investigations showed that the car had not been stolen but involved in a bad accident," police prosecutor Elizabeth Smith said.
"When questioned by police the son said he had made a false insurance claim because the car had not been insured for an accident but it was insured for stealing.
"His father knew the car had been involved in an accident, not stolen."
Defence solicitor Antoinette Morton said the 56-year-old self-employed builder, who used to build properties for mine workers but hadn't worked for six months, had four children and one step-daughter and separated from his wife in 2014.
"His activity was to support and assist his son - he was a party to the offending and not the primary offender," she said, adding there had been no actual loss to the insurance company.
Magistrate Simon Young said Priddle had no history and the two character references provided spoke highly of him, but he added it was a very serious offence, punishable by up to 12 years imprisonment, whether he was the principle offender or not.
"Trying to help your son in financial difficulties does not excuse your actions," he said.
"There needs to be a very strong message sent that defrauding insurance companies is not OK.
"I need to make an example of you for other people who do not share your background and circumstances.
"There also needs to be an element of personal deterrence so you do not commit this kind of offence again.
"This does seem to be an extraordinarily bad decision even if you were trying to support your son. This is a significant attempt at fraud, being $40,000."