Australian woman who wore wigs and sunglasses to trick banks into giving her money walks free from court

Melbourne woman sentenced to time served for 'brazen' identity theft bank scam.
The court heard Kristel Galvin-Samie was 'utterly sorry' for the pain she caused her victims.(Facebook)
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Melbourne woman sentenced to time served for ‘brazen’ identity theft bank scam.

A Melbourne woman who used wigs and sunglasses to hoodwink some of Australia’s biggest banks into giving her more than $260,000 belonging to other customers has walked free from court, in a case likened to a “film script”.

Key points:

  • Kristel Galvin-Samie posed as other people to withdraw large sums of cash and apply for a home loan
  • She was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine and complete a community corrections order
  • The sentencing judge said she narrowly avoided further jail time for the crimes because of “excellent” steps to overcome addiction

Kristel Galvin-Samie, 35, today appeared in the County Court of Victoria where she was sentenced to time already served over the sophisticated scam, which fed her profound drug and gambling addictions.

The court heard that at the height of her habit, Galvin-Samie was spending about $1,000 a day on poker machines and phone-betting apps, and was using methamphetamines and Xanax daily.

She spent 260 days behind bars while her case made its way through the courts and will now have to complete a two-year community based order and pay a $5,000 fine.

The County Court today heard that Galvin-Samie and her accomplices swindled their victims by using stolen identity documents, including drivers licenses and Working with Children cards, then defrauding the banks.

Judge Michael McInerney said Galvin-Samie’s crimes involved “some pretty amazing criminality”.

“It was brazen, it was substantial,” the judge said.

“I was staggered to say the least … the type of behaviour that could make up a film script.”

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He urged her to continue her rehabilitation.

“Ms Galvin-Samie, I don’t have to tell you how close you went to getting further jail,” the judge said.

“Because of the excellent steps you’ve taken over the last 20 months in your rehabilitation and the somewhat remarkable steps insofar as ridding yourselves of drugs … the court’s decided to give you a chance.

“It should be very clear to you that there wouldn’t want to be one more mistake, and I mean one.”

Scammer used work role to source identity documents

Galvin-Samie was a client relationship manager at fleet management company FleetPlus.

In May 2018, Galvin-Samie went to ANZ’s South Melbourne branch with stolen identity documents belonging to a FleetPlus customer and convinced staff to let her withdraw more than $165,000.

In July 2018, she lifted the drivers licence details of another FleetPlus customer to apply for a $40,000 loan, which was approved by BankWest.

In October 2018, Galvin-Samie went to ANZ’s Box Hill branch where she was captured on security footage wearing a blonde wig and swindling $55,000 from the accounts of an unsuspecting customer.

She was arrested in June 2019.

The court heard that after her arrest, Galvin-Samie entered rehabilitation and has stayed drug-free.

The court was told that she has also penned an apology letter to her victims.

“I stand here before the court utterly sorry for the pain I have caused,” the court heard she wrote.

“I started to realise if I did not change, I would die or end up in jail.

“Every day I have been clean, I’ve had to live with the guilt and shame of that impact of my actions. I am truly remorseful.”

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Source: ABC News

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