Tasmanian mum-of-four Casey Maree Bryant who conned her employer into paying for $130,000 worth of home improvement products from Bunnings learns her fate

A Tasmanian mother of four has narrowly avoided jail after using her council job to scam out of $130,000 worth of household products.

Casey Maree Bryant, 40, from Bothwell, about an hour north of Hobart, was working as an administrative assistant for Central Highlands Council when she set up a Bunnings membership under her employer’s details.

A court heard on Friday that she would buy items from Bunnings and other retailers, pay with council cash and then enter the items into the system as being for council use.

Ms Bryant pleaded guilty in the Tasmanian Supreme Court to more than 200 charges, including 60 counts of fraud and 116 counts of inserting false information as data.

Her husband Jamie Glen Bryant, 42, pleaded guilty to six counts of fraud over offering fraudulent purchase orders to retailers including Bunnings, Harvey Norman and Beaurepaires.

Casey Maree Bryant used her job at a Tasmanian council to fraudulently purchase household items, totaling $130,000 over eight years, most of it from Bunnings

Ms Bryant also used a council-owned United Fuel Card to purchase petrol, even though the card was linked to a council-owned diesel vehicle.

Among the $130,000 worth of merchandise scammed between 2012 and 2020 were items purchased from retailers such as Brierly Hose and Battery World.

But the majority came from Bunnings and included barbecue tools, a lawn mower and a water feature worth $1,000.

Her offending only stopped when a Bunnings employee informed the council of a discrepancy in their bill, which subsequently led to a council investigation.

The court heard the crime took place when the couple had significant expenses such as a mortgage, car loans and IVF treatments, but Judge Stephen Estcourt described the scam as ‘calculated’.

He said the pair had robbed the small council, which serves 2,200 residents, of much-needed funds for their own personal gain.

However, he noted that the couple had four children, including two newborns.

“If she was locked up, the newborn twins would suffer,” he said, as reported by the newspaper ABC.

Ms. Bryant was sentenced to 18 months of house arrest with electronic monitoring.

She will also have to perform 210 hours of community service and pay back more than $5,000 to the municipality and more than $127,000 to the insurer.