Mother of three narrowly avoids jail time

A mother of three has narrowly avoided jail-time after fraudulently obtaining close to 1000 pain-relief tablets. In October 2013, the woman, who the Moorabool News has chosen not to name, attended two separate doctors clinics, where she waited for the medical professional to leave the room before stealing a prescription pad, the Bacchus Marsh Magistrates Court heard on Friday. Signing the prescription statements with either her own name or a fictitious one, the woman proceeded to purchase a number of pain-relief medications from pharmacies across Bacchus Marsh, Melton, Sunshine, Geelong and Point Cook. Close to 12-months later, the defendant attended a friends house in Melton, where she allegedly left with stolen Medicare and healthcare cards in the name of the homeowner. Over a three-month period, purchases were made across various pharmacies, which included packets of paracetamol, codeine, diazepam and metronidazole. In February 2014, the owner of the Medicare card was contacted in regards to an unpaid medical bill of $109, and upon realising that a second party had used the card, CCTV footage was observed and the police were immediately contacted. A search warrant was conducted and it was found that the woman had also saved the details of two other stolen Medicare cards in order to purchase the prescription medication. A total of 48 prescriptions were found in the car and home of the accused, which accounted for 992 pain-relief tablets. Magistrate Cynthia Toose condemned the actions of the woman, stating that it was a “very, very serious matter”. “To steal from your doctor and to go into the home of your friends and steal their cards is very premeditated,” she said. The woman’s defence lawyer stated the accused had purchased the medication in absolute desperation, as she had chronic back-pain after a workplace accident in 2013. “She has since been seeing a drug and alcohol councillor and also a doctor through the methadone program. She is taking positive steps to no longer be dependant on the medications, and had no intention of causing harm to the community – only to relieve her pain,” he said. Magistrate Toose said that considering the severity of the crimes, the woman should be behind bars, however had taken into consideration that the accused was a mother of three and ordered her to be assessed for a community corrections order.First appeared in The Moorabool News, April 21 2015

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