Amy Melissa Dobinson, who took a number of steps to swindle $10,560 from her ex-partner between April 28 and May 9 last year, leaving court with the father of her unborn child. Picture: Laura Pettigrew.
Amy Melissa Dobinson, who took a number of steps to swindle $10,560 from her ex-partner between April 28 and May 9 last year, leaving court with the father of her unborn child. Picture: Laura Pettigrew.

Pregnant woman avoids prison after swindling 10k from ex

A pregnant woman who came up with a sophisticated plan to drain $10,000 from her ex-partners superannuation has come "within a wisp" of going to jail, a court has heard.

Amy Melissa Dobinson took several steps to swindle $10,560 from her ex-partner between April 28 and May 9, last year.

Maroochydore Magistrates Court heard Dobinson opened two bank accounts in the victim's name after gaining control of his email account.

The now 28-year-old redirected the victim's Centrelink funds to the new accounts before accessing his superannuation.

She later transferred the money to bank accounts belonging to her an her then boyfriend.

Police prosecutor Brendan Newman said Dobinson initially denied the offences, but then came clean with a "dubious" motif.

Sergeant Newman said Dobinson claimed she was accessing the money to pay off the victim's drug debts.

"We say this is a fanciful version of events and victim blaming," he said.

Sergeant Newman said Dobinson had a criminal history representing that of a drug user and had previously been given fines, good behaviour bonds, community service, suspended sentences and probation.

He said a prison sentence between 18 months and two years with actual time served would reflect the seriousness of the crime.

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He said Dobinson had taken several steps to carry out her "sophisticated" plan.

"It could not be described as a spur of the moment decision, it took careful planning, deception and preparation to facilitate the crime," he said.

He acknowledged Dobinson was pregnant, but said it didn't preclude her from serving time behind bars.

Dobinson pleaded guilty on Thursday to five charges including fraud - dishonestly gaining benefit/advantage - domestic violence offence and obtaining or dealing with identification information - domestic violence offence.

Solicitor Lucy Ferguson told the court Dobinson, who was 37 weeks pregnant, was diagnosed with extreme morning sickness throughout the entirety of her pregnancy.

"I'm instructed throughout the course of this pregnancy she has been hospitalised 15 times as a result of dehydration from vomiting on multiple occasions throughout the day," she said.

Amy Melissa Dobinson leaving Maroochydore Court house with a vomit bag in January. Picture: Maddie Manwaring.
Amy Melissa Dobinson leaving Maroochydore Court house with a vomit bag in January. Picture: Maddie Manwaring.

Ms Ferguson said Dobinson started using methamphetamine and marijuana during her eight-year relationship with the victim and was smoking the drugs "day and night" at the time of the offending.

Ms Ferguson said the mother was still using small amounts of marijuana, but had not used methamphetamine since moving to the Sunshine Coast.

The court heard Dobinson used the money to fund her drug habit and for day-to-day living expenses.

She said a suspended term of imprisonment would recognise the seriousness of the offence, but would allow the court to be "merciful" so Dobinson could give birth to her child in the community.

Amy Melissa Dobinson was sentenced in Maroochydore Magistrates Court on Thursday for swindling $10,000 from her former partner. Picture: Maddie Manwaring.
Amy Melissa Dobinson was sentenced in Maroochydore Magistrates Court on Thursday for swindling $10,000 from her former partner. Picture: Maddie Manwaring.

Magistrate Graham Hillan sentenced Dobinson to two years in prison, suspended for three years.

He said she should count her lucky stars that she was not spending time in custody.

"You have come within a wisp of serving an actual term of imprisonment today," he said.

She was ordered to pay $10,560 in restitution to the victim.

Ms Ferguson said Dobinson had already put the money aside to pay the victim back.

Convictions were recorded.



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