Thursday, February 28, 2013

Man reported car stolen 21 times in 13 years to avoid traffic fines

A retired Australian electrician successfully avoided paying thousands of dollars in traffic camera fines by falsely reporting his car stolen 21 times in 13 years, a court has heard. Geelong court was told each of the reports to police coincided with Mario Hili receiving a traffic fine through the post. It also meant Hili did not lose one demerit point for his offending, which included speeding and going through red traffic lights.

Hili, 64, of North Geelong, pleaded guilty in Geelong Magistrates Court on Tuesday to seven counts of obtaining financial advantage by deception and three counts of making a false document. Police Prosecutor Leading Sen-Constable Siobhan Daly said the defendant reported his car stolen to police on January 20, 2012. "Police discovered it was the 21st time since 2000 that Hili had reported his car stolen," Sen-Constable Daly told the court.

"Each time he would find it himself at various locations around Geelong and each report coincided with him having received a traffic infringement notice through the mail." She said that on this occasion police fingerprinted Hili's car and found only his prints on the vehicle. The prosecutor said that in August 2000, Hili reported his car had been stolen the previous December, which coincided with the date a traffic fine had been issued. Sen-Constable Daly said similar incidents happened in December 2002, May 2003, July 2011 and November 2011.

Shane Balkin, for Hili, said his client, had made some poor decisions. "It was some sort of twisting of our system," Mr Balkin said. "He got away with it the first time and the thing kept rolling along." Magistrate Stephen Myall said Hili had taken advantage of a technique which enabled him to avoid his obligations. Mr Myall said Hili had not only escaped paying the fines but also avoided losing any demerit points as a result of his prolonged and planned offending. He took into account Hili's age, lack of prior convictions and plea of guilty, before convicting and fining him $2500. No order was made in regard to Hili's licence.

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