How a husband and wife defrauded Bunnings out of $270,000 to fund their lavish lifestyle – including buying horses for their daughters and living on a sprawling farm
- Andrew Alasdair Ryan and Tania Leonard convicted of fraud in a Brisbane court
- Couple defrauded Bunnings out of $270,000 through a ‘sophisticated’ scheme
- Goods would be stolen from the hardware store and then returned or sold-on
A couple spent up big on a ‘lavish lifestyle’ that included a sprawling rural ‘mansion’ and show horses after defrauding Bunnings out of $270,000, a court has heard.
Andrew Alasdair Ryan and Tania Leonard appeared before Brisbane District Court last Wednesday where they were convicted of fraud, stealing and possessing a horse purchased with proceeds of crime after pleading guilty, the Courier Mail reported.
The court heard Ryan, 47, and his now ex-wife Leonard, 41, ran a scheme where products would be stolen from Bunnings and then returned for a cash refund or sold on to friends and through online sites such as Gumtree.
Andrew Alasdair Ryan and Tania Leonard ‘lived on a rented sprawling mansion on acreage with horses and horseriding activities’ in Tamborine, Queensland after defrauding Bunnings and swindling money out of two friends, a Brisbane court has heard
Ryan spearheaded the ‘sophisticated’ operation between 2016 and 2018, the court heard.
Crown prosecutor Shauna Farrelly told the court Ryan would use a receipt from items he purchased from Bunnings to steal identical products from a number of other stores.
Leonard became involved in the fraud in 2018, where she would collect Ryan from Bunnings using a car that had fake number plates attached, while also making false returns to the hardware store, the court heard.
The $270,000 the couple defrauded Bunnings out of was comprised of $215,000 worth of goods which where then on-sold, false returns worth $25,000 and $20,000 in items seized from their home.
The couple also defrauded two friends out of $25,000.
They went on to spend the stolen money on a rental property in Tamborine and a show horse called Daisy Lane Huntsman for their two daughters, which was worth $50,000, the court heard.
They couple also splashed out $50,000 on a show horse called Daisy Lane Huntsman for their two daughters
Ryan and Leonard defrauded Bunnings out of $270,000, which included $215,000 worth of goods which where then on-sold
‘The money was spent on a lavish lifestyle; the family had a holiday to America within the period of offending, they had purchases for clothing, they lived on a rented sprawling mansion on acreage with horses and horseriding activities,’ Ms Farrelly told the court.
She said the couple’s ‘offending was prolific enough to be the source of income for the family’.
But the couple’s operation fell apart when police raided their property in November 2018 and uncovered 137 items suspected of being from Bunnings.
Judge Vicki Loury QC told the court Ryan’s ‘motivation was to fund the lifestyle that you and your wife enjoyed’.
Ryan was also convicted of dishonestly gaining property for himself and others worth more than $100,000 and was sentenced to five years and seven months in prison but was eligible for parole from Wednesday.
Leonard was ordered to perform 150 hours of unpaid community service and handed a two-year suspended sentence.