A Mount Pleasant woman who racked up $40,000 in charges on credit cards taken out in her son’s name is repaying the debt at $30 a fortnight, a court has heard.
Lesley Alexandra Stojcevski, 63, was in a state of financial stress when she used her son’s identity to apply for four credit cards from major banks between 2008 and 2010. She maxed out each one of them within months, often after increasing the credit limit to more than triple the original value.
Police estimated Stojcevski ended up owing a combined $41,485 on the cards.
The scam was only uncovered when her son was knocked back on a credit card application last year.
Stojcevski confessed her crime to police in May, saying she had been under “extreme financial hardship” at the time. She was charged with four counts of dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage by deception, to which she pleaded guilty.
She was sentenced to 12-months jail in Wollongong Local Court in December however appealed the decision to the NSW District Court, claiming the penalty was too severe.
At an appeal hearing on Friday, defence lawyer Elizabeth Parkes said Stojcevski had previously been earning a good income however fell into financial trouble after her husband lost an unrelated civil court case.
The court heard Stojcevski was unable to make the mortgage repayments on their house and it was repossessed by the bank.
“She used up her superannuation and even sold her jewellery,” Ms Parkes said of her client’s bid to remain financially afloat.
She said Stojcevski was now living on the Newstart allowance and repaying her debt to the respective banks at $30 a fortnight.
Judge Andrew Haesler agreed to suspend Stojcevski’s jail sentence, noting she had voluntarily attended the police station to admit her guilt.
“Poverty has never been regarded as a sufficient excuse [to commit crime],” he said.
Poverty has never been regarded as a sufficient excuse [to commit crime]Judge Andrew Haesler
“You took far more than was needed to put bread on your table.”