Fake cop turns fake paramedic in online COVID chat
A Brisbane man who pretended to be a South Australian paramedic on a "coronavirus down under" online chat forum has been fined $1000.
Selwyn Dunningham, 25, had been put on a good behaviour bond, for pretending to be a police officer, only two months before forging a paramedic's identity card.
Dunningham pleaded guilty today to forging a South Australian Ambulance Service identity card, uttering the document and knowingly using the title of a health practitioner.
Sgt Tara Williams told Brisbane Magistrates Court a woman told the South Australian paramedic that she was concerned that someone may have stolen his identification.
The woman said a man had gone onto an online chat forum, called "coronavirus down under", claiming to be a paramedic.
When challenged about his qualifications, the man had uploaded a photo of himself, holding a paramedic's identity card, Sgt Williams said.
The real paramedic told police he recognised Dunningham as the man in the photo, as he had known him for five years.
He told South Australian police that he had known Dunningham when he was a St John Ambulance volunteer and he had also had professional dealings with him.
South Australian police told Queensland Police that Dunningham was living in Brisbane.
When police searched his home, they identified him from the uploaded photos and found a number of items depicted in the photos.
The court heard Dunningham had a degree in paramedicine from Queensland University of Technology.
His defence lawyer said Dunningham had worked as a paramedic for 18 months, before leaving and starting up his own software development company in 2018.
He had also been a volunteer firefighter.
Dunningham moved to Queensland this year and the offences were committed at Fortitude Valley on March 31.
Magistrate Rosemary Gilbert said she was somewhat perplexed as to why Dunningham would hold himself out to be a paramedic.
Ms Gilbert said in January this year Dunningham had been placed on an 18-month good behaviour bond in a South Australian court, for falsely representing himself to be a police officer.
His latest offences had been committed only two months later, while on the good behaviour bond.
Dunningham also had previous convictions for dealing with property without consent and unlawful possession of prescription drugs.
Ms Gilbert told Dunningham he needed to deal with his issues, before fining him $1000 and recording the convictions.
Originally published as Fake cop turns fake paramedic in online COVID chat