A 28-year-old Woodbridge man is expected to face Perth Magistrate’s Court today (14 August, 2020) over allegations he stole his girlfriend’s bank savings in the days after her unexpected death last year.
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) will allege the man accessed the 32-year-old woman’s bank accounts through her mobile phone, transferred funds between her accounts and then used her card on three occasions to withdraw a total of $2,400 from automatic teller machines.
Police allege the man did not have permission to access the woman’s mobile phone or bank accounts after her non-suspicious death in July 2019.
The woman’s relatives became concerned about her financial affairs after the man had allegedly attempted to get a copy of her death certificate. It is alleged he was planning to finalise a claim for almost $400,000 in superannuation savings and life insurance benefits.
In early July 2020, the AFP began an investigation into a claim the woman’s superannuation account had been accessed after her death.
Investigators executed a search warrant at the man’s Woodbridge home on 23 July (2020) and charged him over the alleged theft of the woman’s bank savings.
He is expected to face court for the first time today (14 August) on one count of using a telecommunication network with intention to commit a serious offence, contrary to section 474.14(2) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).
The potential maximum penalty is seven years’ imprisonment.
An investigation into the allegations relating to the superannuation account is ongoing, with police continuing to examine seized electronic devices and other financial records.
AFP Federal Agent Stuart McDonald said it had been extremely difficult for the young woman’s family to focus on her financial affairs at a time when they were grieving her unexpected loss.
“The AFP will do what we can to protect the nest eggs of hard-working Australians by investigating, disrupting and prosecuting anyone who tries to defraud Commonwealth systems,” Federal Agent McDonald said.