Identity thief cops jail

Parkes Court House.
Parkes Court House.

A 26 year old Forbes man is behind bars after having a severity appeal dismissed in Parkes District Court.

Grant Michael Rath (26) of Scenic Drive, Merewether, and formerly of Hilda Street, Forbes, appeared before Judge Stephen Hanley on Wednesday, November 1.

Rath was found guilty of 12 counts of deal with identification information to commit, facilitate commission of an indictable offence, six counts of dishonestly obtain property by deception, and one count of possess identification information to commit facilitate commission of an indictable offence at Cobar between September 1 and 17, 2015, by Magistrate Philip Stewart in Forbes Local Court on May 17.

Magistrate Stewart sentenced Rath to jail for two years and three months with a non-parole period of 18 months, commencing May 17.

Rath appealed the sentence on the grounds of severity and was granted bail pending the appeal.

According to police facts tendered in court, officers executed a search warrant at Rath’s Hilda Street address on December 4, 2016.

During the search they located a large bundle of documents in the back garden shed.

The documents were A4 pieces of paper containing copies of personal identification cards such as driver's licences, medicare cards, credit cards etc.

The documents, relating to 71 people, appeared to be identification provided for the purpose of employment.

Rath was questioned at the time of the search warrant and claimed to have found them in a rubbish bin while working at Cobar.

Further investigations revealed a majority of the people who the various identification papers belonged to worked at CSA Mine in Cobar.

Handwritten notes were observed on some of the documents which appeared to relate to the ordering and delivery of iPhones and iPads through each person's individual Telstra accounts.

Checks revealed a number of calls were placed to Telstra to order mobile phones and iPads – the majority of the calls originating from Rath’s mobile number.

The goods were delivered to different locations including Rath’s Hilda Street address.

Police obtained a statement from the Operations Manager of Underground and Drilling at Downer EDI mining, the company Rath was employed with during 2015.

It was determined the identification papers were 100 point identification requirements which potential employees produced upon application.

It was also determined that Rath had access to the documents during early September 2015 when he was tasked with updating employee’s training files while on light duties.

Rath, represented by Dubbo solicitor Matthew Tedeschi, told the court he was now living in Newcastle and, after obtaining Certificate 3 and 4 in Fitness, is running his own business as a personal trainer.

Judge Hanley asked Rath how much he was earning as a personal trainer.

“About $1500 a week,” Rath said. 

“How do you get legal aid on that?” Judge Hanley said.

Judge Hanley told Rath there was an attempt to have his matters dealt with earlier in the District Court proceedings.

“But we were told you were in Bali on holidays,” he said.

“You could afford that?”

Rath told him that his partner paid for the trip. 

Judge Hanly asked Rath why he should vary the Magistrate's decision.

“This is the sort of behaviour that strikes fear in every person in the community,” he said.

“The fact that their identity is going to be stolen, they are going to have debts incurred that are not theirs, they’ve then got to try and convince someone it’s not them.” 

Judge Hanley said it is not something you do on the spur of the moment.

“This took planning, creating email addresses, making reports, setting up false addresses for the stock to be delivered to,” he said.

Judge Hanley dismissed the appeal and confirmed all findings and orders of Magistrate Stewart to commence on November 1.