Local fraudster all stitched up
27 January 2017
A Brisbane woman was fined $50,000 in the Southport Magistrates Court earlier this month, following an investigation by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).
Amanda Jane Stichbury pleaded guilty to a total of 166 counts, including sending another person an invoice for unsolicited services, and making false and misleading representations.
Ms Stichbury was personally fined $10,000 and three corporations of which she was sole director were fined a total of $40,000.
The Court heard Ms Stichbury’s businesses, Accommodation Find Pty Ltd, Internet Find Pty Ltd, and Special Days Pty Ltd, sent unsolicited invoices to several businesses nation-wide requesting they pay for services that were never requested, or authorised. The invoices included words which implied that a previous relationship existed with the victims, which was not the case.
In sentencing, the Court heard the affected businesses denied giving consent, approval or authorisation for any services to be provided by Ms Stichbury, or her three companies.
The Court noted Ms Stichbury did not appear apologetic for her behaviour, given a previous conviction for similar offences resulting in an $18,000 fine in 2014, and took this into consideration when handing down the penalty.
Fair Trading Executive Director Brian Bauer said the verdict reflected the serious nature of the offending and was a reminder to other would-be lawbreakers
“Ms Stichbury’s business model was based almost entirely on deception, and sought to prey upon time-poor businesses simply paying an invoice without enquiring into it too deeply,” Mr Bauer said.
“Such behaviour has no place in Queensland, and the OFT will continue to vigorously pursue any unscrupulous traders intentionally misleading other businesses or consumers.
“Businesses need to be vigilant when paying invoices, ensuring the payments are for services that were legitimately provided.”
Both businesses and consumers can make a complaint about a trader and find information on their marketplace rights at www.qld.gov.au/fairtrading.