‘Planned and deliberate’: Top nurse’s elaborate car scam
‘Planned and deliberate’: Top nurse’s elaborate car scam

‘Planned and deliberate’: Top nurse’s elaborate car scam

A HIGHLY qualified Cairns intensive care nurse was motivated by "greed" when she drove her ageing, damaged car interstate 1800km, reported it stolen and falsely claimed thousands of dollars in insurance, a court has heard.

Alison Jane Hutchinson, 37, who was most recently working in Cairns Hospital's ICU part time, will spend the next three months behind bars after pleading guilty to fraud in the Cairns Magistrates Court on Monday.

The court heard Hutchinson, who has been a nurse for 11 years and co-owns a gym, has no criminal history and committed the offence because she "wanted a new car".

"It doesn't seem to be motivated by need but … greed," Magistrate Joe Pinder said.

"It was reasonably sophisticated, certainly planned and deliberate. It involved a significant application on your part in terms of dishonesty."

The court heard Hutchinson "deliberately secreted" the 2008 model Subaru Liberty by driving it across the border to New South Wales in December 2018 and hiding it, while reporting it stolen.

She successfully made a claim to her insurer AAMI for more than $19,000 in February 2019.

The car was later located at Murwillumbah in northern NSW, following a major police investigation.

Magistrate Pinder said it appeared her offending was eventually discovered after she was dobbed in by a witness, but she refused to speak to police who located CCTV footage of the vehicle being driven across the border. She was charged in August.

Her defence solicitor, Ken Cuthbertson, conceded her original car had suffered damage so a "plan had been concocted" to make the false insurance claim.

He said she was an otherwise "upstanding member of the community" who made a "mistake" after a relationship ended and had since paid back the money.

A Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service spokesman would not confirm whether she would be sacked but said they would "take the relevant steps with respect to the employee's employment … following the finalisation of the criminal charge".

"The Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service complies with its legislative obligations for criminal history checks when employing staff and confirms there was no previous criminal history, when this was undertaken on commencement with the Health Service."

Originally published as 'Planned and deliberate': Top nurse's elaborate car scam