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R v Miller; R v Omar [2021] NSWDC 609

The offenders were sentenced following pleas of guilty to 1 count of conspiring to defraud contrary to s 135.4[1] of the Commonwealth Criminal Code. The offender, Miller, was also sentenced following a plea of guilty to 1 count of aiding and abetting a named employee to deal with proceeds of crime contrary to ss 11.2(1) and 400.9 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code.

Nature and Circumstances: Miller’s offending was over a short period involving six separate deposits totaling $140,000 and eight withdrawals totaling $135,000. Offender recruited their employee by deceptive means and provided instructions to launder money at their direction. Offender’s role was significant and involved a reasonable amount of money. Offending was moderately serious. As for the joint offence, the offenders and XY conspired to purport to be genuine child care providers and defrauded the Commonwealth Department of Education of $9,274,016. Offending was sustained and deliberate. Two different child care centres were secured to commit the fraud and not utilised legitimately. Offending was planned and well-orchestrated, falling well above the mid-level of objective seriousness. The money sought to be made from the offending was significant and well beyond what was required to fund drug use. The offenders’ conduct continued for over a year, even when they were aware that the operation was under suspicion.

Mental Condition: Miller’s background influenced their decision to use illicit drugs, which resulted in the offender developing mental health issues. Offender exercised poor judgement in deciding to commit fraud. However, it was sustained conduct over a year on a grand scale. Offender was a crucial player in a planned and deliberate scheme. Offender set out to, and did, secure a huge payment from the Commonwealth Government. The offender, Ibrahim Omar, was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2020 and subsequently experienced depressed mood and sought out psychological treatment. This medical event is part of Omar’s history but does not inform their offending or raise issues for a custodial sentence. Both offenders’ mental health issues and related substance abuse warrants a modest amelioration to the sentence.

Parity: XY was sentenced after a reduction of 50 per cent to 4 years imprisonment with a non-parole period of 2 years and 6 months. The offenders and XY were equally complicit, although XY was found by the sentencing judge to be lesser involved and lower in the notional hierarchy than the offenders. The offenders are to be sentenced at the same or a similar starting point to XY, with Miller’s starting point to be modestly higher due to their other offence and antecedents.

Miller sentenced to 6 years and 8 months imprisonment with a 4 year non-parole period. Omar sentenced to 6 years imprisonment with a 3 year and 8 month non-parole period. Both sentences reduced by 25 per cent for the offenders’ pleas of guilty.
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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