News

House-sitter cruises into jail over $90k fraud

Wendy Baulch when she was released from a Brisbane police station with her suitcases in February, 2015. She had just returned from a cruise she paid for with fraudulently obtained money.
Wendy Baulch when she was released from a Brisbane police station with her suitcases in February, 2015. She had just returned from a cruise she paid for with fraudulently obtained money. DAN PELED

WHEN struggling house-sitter Wendy Baulch discovered her bank balance had soared from just a few dollars to more than $90,000, she knew someone had made a mistake.

But rather than alert her bank, the former Maryborough woman quickly siphoned the funds into other accounts and embarked on an exorbitant spending spree, booking an around the world cruise and other luxury holidays.

The monstrous lapse in judgment came back to haunt Baulch on Monday as she was sentenced in Brisbane District Court to 18 months jail for defrauding a discount chemist.

Baulch, 54, first drew the attention of police during an investigation into an online scam that had allegedly targeted the company.

When her cruise ship docked in Sydney she was arrested and escorted back to Queensland in February, 2015.

A charge of computer hacking was later dropped and it was conceded Baulch did not know how the money got into her account.

Defence barrister Bruce Mumford told the court on Monday his client was house sitting for a friend in Maryborough following a doomed move to Canada to be with her former lover when the $93,464 windfall "landed on her doorstep".

He said she used some of the funds to pay bills but accepted much of the money was spent on "indulgences".

He also said that his client, who had since moved to the Gold Coast, recently completed a number of Bible study courses and planned to join the Salvation Army so she could help the "less fortunate".

Judge Gary Long said while Baulch "did nothing to encourage" the transfer of funds, it "must have been obvious" there had been a mistake.

He said jail time was "not going to be easy" for Baulch, who needed the aid of a walking stick to stand up in the dock, but the offence involved a "substantial" loss to the company and general deterrence was important.

Baulch must serve three months behind bars before the remainder of her sentence is suspended.

The $28,000 in remaining funds that was frozen by the bank until the outcome of the case will be returned to the defrauded company.

- ARM NEWDESK

Topics:  fraud luxury cruise wendy baulch


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Bruce Hwy crash sparks traffic gridlock

Emergency services attend a crash in the southbound lanes of the Bruce Hwy near Johnston Rd at Glass House Mountain.

Paramedics treating victim at scene

Dear Margaret Court, this is what it's like to be gay

Tennis legend Margaret Court believes Australia should not have marriage equality because it does not align with her view of Christian and Bible values.

Why I live for a time when being gay is 'normal'

Mozzie treatments for Moreton Bay region continue

WARNING: An imported case of Zika virus has been confirmed in a Bowen resident.

Areas include Burpengary, Beachmere, Ningi, Toorbul and Bribie.

Local Partners

Sam Armytage and Tom Cruise? Saaaaay what?

SAMANTHA Armytage has hit back at rumours she’s dating Tom Cruise, following reports the pair had hit it off during an interview on Sunrise.

Musical tribute to flood volunteers released

Songwriter honours flood volunteers who helped their neighbours.

Lismore songwriter Simon Thomas was moved by strangers' kindness

Karl Stefanovic's rant about Schapelle Corby 'a bit rich'

Karl Stefanovic is sick of hearing about Schapelle Corby.

Maybe he just wanted to make himself the story.

Could Schapelle be heading for Gladstone?

Australian Schapelle Corby is escorted by Bali Police at the parole office in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia, 27 May 2017.

Schapelle's mother teases her free daughter could be Gladstone bound

Six things you never knew about Men in Black

Mushu the pug

It's been 20 years since Men in Black first hit cinemas

10 strange stories behind famous sex scenes

Khaleesi and Khal Drogo in a steamy moment.

Every set has their own way of filming sex scenes

HBO spills new details on Game of Thrones’ final season

Game of Thrones’ eighth and final season will only have six episodes.

New details about what to expect from the eighth, final instalment.

New $46.7m counter-terrorism facility to be built in Wacol

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, pictured with Police Commisioner Ian Stewart, has announced plans to build a new counter-terrorism facility in Wacol.

The facility will be built over three years.

Home to a sex worker: Sordid history of iconic Coast shed

Milojevic Djordjevic's daughter Linda at the derelict shed on Yandina-Coolum Road.

The shed was once a liveable 'barrack'.

This is real estate's billion-dollar man

Bob Wolff at AREC with John McGrath of McGrath Real Estate.

They don’t call him the “Billion dollar man” for nothing

Man's amazing comeback from monster crisis

Pat O'Driscoll agents Penny Keating and Doug Webber sold 56 Agnes St, The Range at auction over the weekend.

NOT long ago, he sold his possessions to pay staff. Now he's back.

Report reveals progress on $319m airport upgrade

Aerials of the Sunshine Coast.Jetstar plane in front of the Susnhine Coast terminal, Sunshine Coast Airport.

Over two dozen government approvals needed for airport expansion

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!