A mechanic and construction worker have been cleared of any wrongdoing after they defended an allegation they worked together to create a false invoice and pocket money from an insurance claim.
Paul Jewell and Craig Allman fronted Wollongong Local Court for hearing on a charge each of dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception that allegedly occurred between December 24, 2019 and February 8, 2020.
Police were alerted to the alleged crime while Jewell was under investigation for the supply of cocaine, which he subsequently pleaded guilty to before receiving a conditional release order.
Police alleged Jewell fixed Allman's car tail gate at his business, Muffler Centre in Fairy Meadow, before Jewell agreed to provide Allman with a fake invoice which he could use to make an insurance claim.
Police alleged Allman, who runs Craig Allman Construction based in Corrimal, asked Jewell to let him know how much the work was worth before saying it would cost $490 plus GST.
It is alleged Allman offered to pay Jewell but Jewell said they could "have some beers" or "work something out" in return for the work.
Jewell was also heard saying he would rather see Allman get the money.
In recorded telephone interviews played to the court, Allman was heard asking Jewell, "can you make up a dummy invoice for an insurance claim" before Jewell replied, "I can do whatever you want me to do mate".
It was alleged Allman submitted a false invoice to the insurance company and that he would keep the money to himself when the claim was paid out.
However, Allman's defence lawyer Graeme Morrison presented a Muffler Centre invoice to the court showing there was an outstanding balance due for $539 to be paid by Allman, indicating the invoice was not fake.
Suncorp Insurance senior investigations officer Warren Herrick told the court Allman provided the insurance company with an invoice showing he paid Muffler Centre for the work and was therefore reimbursed $539.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Lachlan Kirby said when Allman was charged in 2020 he had an intention to "obtain financial advantage" as suggested in the telephone intercepts.
Sgt Kirby suggested Allman had a "future financial benefit forthcoming" that he was going to be keep once the insurance money reimbursed the claim.
Mr Morrison produced a bank transfer receipt showing his client paid Muffler Centre for the work and was therefore entitled to the reimbursement from the insurance company.
Magistrate Claire Girotto found that Allman had not received any money from the insurance company at the time he was charged and therefore could not have dishonestly obtained the money. She also said there was no evidence to prove the invoice was fake.
Magistrate Girotto said key elements of the charges had not been proven and found both men not guilty.
We depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.