Cheque theft 'opportunistic'

THE lure of a $45,000 cheque in the mail was too much - even though it was addressed to someone else.

Miteshkumar Kishorbhai Patel, then 23, and his flatmate recruited another couple to open a bank account and deposit the cheque so they could split the money between them.

Brisbane District Court heard on Friday how a man managing a family estate had sent the cheque to his brother but it went to the wrong address in late 2010.

Crown prosecutor Shauna Rankine said Patel initially gave police a false account but eventually gave enough evidence to help prove a case against one of his co-accused.

She said the money was never recovered.

Barrister Doug Wilson said Patel was an Indian national, in Australia since 2008, studying business in Brisbane while working at convenience stores around the city.

He said the crime was opportunistic and his client received only a small portion of the fraudulent windfall.

Judge Douglas McGill said the now 25-year-old had already spent time in custody not declarable and reduced his sentence accordingly.

Patel was sentenced to 16 months jail but immediately released on parole.

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