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R v Lauren Cranston [2023] NSWSC 454

The offender was sentenced following a conviction for 1 count of dishonestly causing a loss to the Commonwealth contrary to section 135.4(3) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code and 1 count of dealing with money of a value of $1,000,000 or more believing it to be the proceeds of crime contrary to sections 11.5(1) and 400.3(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code.

Nature and Circumstances: The two conspiracies fall towards the highest range of objective seriousness of offences of this kind, albeit offender’s role fell at or near the bottom of the hierarchy of known conspirators in each. The tax fraud and money laundering conspiracies involved a significant level of sophistication, premeditation, planning and deception and a high degree of dishonesty and corresponding breach of trust. The success of the tax fraud and money laundering conspiracies depended in part on offender’s participation. During the period of offender’s participation, the loss caused to the Commonwealth was at least $101,584,925. Whilst greed, in the receipt of over $181,000 for their involvement in the conspiracies, forms part of the explanation for offender’s conduct, their participation was primarily the result of a misguided sense of loyalty to the people directing the conspiracies, particularly their brother. Given all of these matters, the offending falls just below the mid-range of objective seriousness for offences of this kind. The conspiracies themselves fall at the highest range of objective seriousness of offences of this kind, but offender’s position in the conspiracies is at or towards the bottom.

Contrition: Offender pleaded not guilty to the offence. According to the psychologist’s report, offender continues to assert their innocence. There was no acknowledgment by offender or on their behalf that any crime had been committed here, by anybody, much less that offender was contrite.

Rehabilitation: Despite their prior good character, it cannot be concluded that offender has good prospects of rehabilitation. Offender asserts that they have done nothing wrong and does not even acknowledge that any of their co-conspirators have done anything wrong. It is likely that the principal conspirators, including offender’s brother, are likely to be in prison for a considerable period of time, reducing the risk that offending of the same kind can readily be engaged in by offender upon their release. On balance, the offender’s prospects of rehabilitation are fair rather than good.

Family and Dependants: The most important probable consequence is upon offender’s 5-year-old daughter, who will now reside full time with her father. For a 5-year-old to lose full-time contact with a parent for some years is a tragic consequence. A second probable consequence is upon offender’s mother. Offender’s mother will be required to undertake physically and financially onerous part time carer responsibilities for their granddaughter despite a recent medical diagnosis. The child’s father will also likely encounter difficulties.

Offender sentenced to 8 years imprisonment with a non-parole period of 5 years.
The CSD acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as First Australians and recognises their culture, history, diversity and their deep connection to the land. We acknowledge that we are on the land of the traditional owners and pay respects to Elders past and present.

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