A former medicare worker, who fraudulently claimed tens of thousands of dollars from family and friends’ accounts, has been sentenced to two months in prison.
- Olivia Rose Rodgers Stole $ 65,000 from Insurance Company Bupa by Making Claims on Family and Friends’ Accounts
- She pleaded guilty and was sentenced to nine months in prison, seven of which were suspended
- Magistrate said Ms Rodgers “lived beyond her means” but showed remorse and refunded the money
Olivia Rose Rodgers is one of Tasmania’s best-known makeup artists, but before turning her beauty business into a full-time job, she worked for Bupa Health Insurance.
During this time, she stole more than $ 65,000 from the company, using her family and friends without her knowing to do so.
Hobart Magistrates’ Court heard on Monday that between January 2016 and July 2017, Rodgers had processed 62 fraudulent claims against nine-member policies – the people were either family or close friends.
Rodgers would contact the person and ask them to use their bank details. From there, she would access the person’s health insurance policy, submit a claim, create a fake invoice, and generate the claim.
When the money was deposited into this person’s account, Rodgers would make up various excuses as to why he was there and ask them to transfer the money to him.
She told some people that the money was there by accident, she told another woman it was faster to process requests this way, while she convinced another friend that she was saving up for a vacation in abroad and transferred to him to save money.
The court heard that Rodgers’ plan began to fall apart when one of her friends submitted a dental claim, but she was told she had reached her insurance limit. She had made no claims in the previous calendar year.
Bupa opened an investigation into what had happened and her friend reported her to the police.
One of those charged was Rodgers’ mother, who was terminally ill and has since died.
“[She was] pledged to stand trial in the Supreme Court and had to appear. [You regret that she] had to face a period of criminal charges, ”she said.
“You were living beyond your means”
The court heard that Rodgers initially pleaded not guilty and even after she pleaded guilty she continued to lie about elements of her conduct.
“You said that while you were employed, Bupa was continually wasting your salary and you needed the money. You didn’t,” Chief Magistrate Geason said.
“You said you had $ 20,000 in credit card debt. You had a number of debts. [But] the debt you had was debt you were able to repay and you chose to spend your income on other items.
The chief justice said Rodgers had instead chosen to use his money for items such as “clothing, jewelry, cosmetics, hotel rooms” and travel to Victoria, NSW, in Queensland and Bali.
“You were living beyond your means,” she said.
Rodgers remorseful, paid back all the money
The court heard that Rodgers suffered from generalized anxiety disorder and had remorse for his past actions.
“[You have] consistently expressed how horrified you are at your past actions and have great difficulty reconciling offensive behavior [with your values],” she said.
“You maintain that it was completely out of character and you maintain disbelief that you took the actions that you did. I accept that over time you developed remorse.”
She also noted that Rodgers “had gone to great lengths to effect restitution” and noted that she had returned all the money to Bupa.
During sentencing, Chief Magistrate Geason said Rodgers’ conduct was “dishonest and bad”.
“You have not only seriously abused the trust of your employer, but also of your family and friends,” she said.
“The conduct constituted a serious and ongoing breach of trust over an 18 month period.
Rodgers was sentenced to nine months in prison, including seven months suspended.
Her defense team has filed a notice of intention to appeal the sentence and she has been released on bail to appear in Supreme Court next week.