The moment it all came crashing down for lavish living Bunnings fraudsters: Shame of couple who defrauded warehouse of $270,000 as police put their daughter’s prized equestrian horse up for sale on FACEBOOK
- Couple sentenced after defrauding Bunnings of $270,000 in order to live large
- Queensland pair rented a five bedroom ‘ranch’ in Tamborine, on the Scenic Rim
- Also bought their daughters a showhorse named Daisy Lane Huntsman
- Acquaintances learned something was amiss when horse was auctioned off
- Auction house said it was selling prized horse under the Proceeds of Crime Act
Friends of a couple who lived large after defrauding Bunnings of $270,000 realised something was wrong when the police auctioned off their daughters’ prized equestrian horse on Facebook.
Andrew Alasdair Ryan and Tania Leonard were last week convicted of fraud, stealing and possessing a horse purchased with the proceeds of crime by Brisbane’s District Court.
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 or via sites such as Gumtree, the Courier-Mail reported.
The court heard the couple used their ill gotten gains to rent a five bedroom ranch style home valued at almost $2million in Tamborine, in Queensland’s Scenic Rim region. They also bought their two daughters a competition horse, named Daisy Lane Huntsman – or ‘Spidey’.
Daily Mail Australia understands that acquaintances of the couple only realised something was amiss when the prized gelding went up for sale on a well-known auction site.
Months after a police raid, Town and Country Auctions posted to Facebook in March 2019 that Daisy Lane was for sale due to ‘extraordinary circumstances’.
Friends of the Ryan family realised something was amiss when their prized horse Daisy Lane Huntsman went up for auction – and the Queensland Police Service was the vendor
Town and Country Auctions advertised the gelding’s sale as a ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’, above
Andrew Alasdair Ryan and Tania Leonard lived at a five bedroom rental property in Tamborine, Queensland with 53 acres and five paddocks before they were charged by police
The sprawling mansion-style property featured an in-ground pool and Bali-style gazebo in a paddock setting (above)
A glimpse of the five bedroom home’s sparkling interiors. Kitchen and dining area above
The auction house said they were under instructions from the Queensland Police Force under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
The sale was described as a ‘once in a lifetime opportunity for buyers’.
Prospective buyers were urged not to contact the horse’s owners for privacy reasons.
The court reportedly heard last week that Andrew Ryan masterminded the ‘sophisticated’ operation between 2016 and 2018.
Crown prosecutor Shauna Farrelly said Ryan would use a receipt from items he purchased from Bunnings to steal identical products from 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 cost Bunnings 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 Courier-Mail reported.
The couple also defrauded two friends out of $25,000.
Ryan and Leonard defrauded Bunnings out of $270,000, which included $215,000 worth of goods which where then on-sold
They went on to spend the stolen money on the Tamborinee rental property and their daughters’ show horse, which was worth $50,000.
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 reportedly 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.