A former Katherine travel agent has avoided jail after pleading guilty to defrauding the Northern Territory Government of more than AUD 40,000.
Tennille Kim Foley, 38, was sentenced to three months home detention and ordered to repay the money.
She had been sole director of Travel World in Katherine since 2004 and in March she pleaded guilty to obtaining a benefit by deception, ABC News reported.
Darwin Magistrates Court heard that Foley had submitted 69 inflated invoices to the NT Health Department as part of the Pensioner Travel Concession Scheme, and received benefits totalling AUD 40,514.
Foley’s lawyer, Peter Maley, said Foley worked at Flight Centre in Darwin between 2002 and 2004, the ABC reported.
“The way she conducted herself and her involvement in the pensioner concession travel scheme… she gained experience at Flight Centre,” Maley said.
Maley added that smaller agencies were easier for police to target, compared to the “bigger companies with multiple layers of management”.
In sentencing, Judge Michael Carey said that although Foley’s offending was serious, she was “one of the smaller fry”.
The judge also took into consideration tragic experiences in Foley’s life, which included being injured in a serious car accident that killed her grandmother in 2008.
Foley was also caring for her father, who had suffered brain damage in a separate car crash four years later.
Foley’s financial position was “extremely difficult” since she was charged and lost her business, Maley said.