A married couple who perpetrated a massive fraud that almost produced a negotiated $580,000 windfall are yet to be sentenced for their crimes:
A former SA Health employee who sent her children fake death threats and bloodstained clothing as part of an elaborate scam has been described in the Adelaide District Court as a “dedicated” and “inspirational” mother.
Tabitha Lean, 40, and her husband Simon Craig Peisley, 39 — who also worked for SA Health — are awaiting sentencing on 47 deception charges and one of attempted deception.
During their trial, the court heard Lean, who was the director of the Aboriginal Health Service, became worried she would lose her job during a restructure.
She concocted an elaborate scam which resulted in SA Health paying for the family’s relocation from their Elizabeth home to a serviced apartment in North Adelaide.
SA Health also covered other costs, which included interstate travel and medical appointments.
The court heard the pair sent relatives, friends and even their children’s school threats, as well as packages of what appeared to be bloodstained children’s clothing.
Criminal acts to be sure but there is mitigation only available to women:
During sentencing submissions on Monday, Lean’s lawyer Christopher Allen called for the judge to offer a degree of mercy when sentencing his client and to consider the effects a possible jail term would have on her children.
Mr Allen said Lean’s character could be best summed up by the words of Beverley Hall, who in a character reference said:
“I’m aware of the offences that Tabitha has been accused of and that the jury found her guilty. Nevertheless, it’s completely out of character and quite alien to the nature of the person I have come to admire and respect as a family friend over the past 20 years”.
“She has always been very caring and helpful to other people, giving from the heart — a rare quality — and a dedicated mother and a wonderful model for the Aboriginal community.”
Another referee for Lean praised her parenting skills.
“In my honest opinion, I believe that Tabitha is an inspirational mother and a role model to her children”.
“I look up to Tabitha in regards to her ability to raise three wonderful children, even after all of the hardship she has faced”.
“I believe that all of the children will go to be valuable participants of both the Aboriginal and general communities and that she should be applauded for their successes.”
Ms Lean was obviously unconcerned about the possible impact of her crimes on her children while perpetrating an extended criminal act so her incarceration should be assured.