Wed, May 1, 9:07pm by Kevin Pitstock
A woman from Leopold was sentenced to 8 years in prison for stealing $7.8 million. Every bit of the stolen cash was squandered on online poker machines. Her defence at trial hinged on claims of multiple personality disorder. The judge in the case seemed to believe the woman demonstrated evidence of the mental disorder, buthe also judged that at other times she covered up her 5 years of criminal behaviour. She was sentenced to eight year behind bars.
The woman in question, Wendy Hope Jobson, claims to have multiple personalities. A witness for the defence, Dr Sylvia Solinski, claimed Mrs Jobson had 10 separate personalities. The doctor stated in court that multiple personas are not like the public perception of them, like some Jekyll & Hyde scenario, but instead is like the main personality being influenced by a second one.
The defendant was accused of 1410 counts of theft, which she took from the managing director The Koroneos Group, Mitchell Koroneos. The Koroneos Group owns the Waurn Ponds, Wool Exchange, and Norlane hotels. The Koroneos Group also owns the Racecourse Hotel in Werribee. Michael Koroneos claimed he trusted Wendy Jobson implicitly and treated her like family in her 16 years with the company.
The thefts happened between 2006 and 2011. Eventually, the banking manager of the company informed Mr Koroneos of suspicious banking activity. Wendy Jobson made a tearful confession, claiming she would prefer to flee the country than remain and face jail time.
Over the years, Mrs Jobson began playing online pokies on a prominent gambling website. She began to play Dr Love Slots, losing most of the money she stole. At a point, she tried to win back the money to repay it, even winning $1 million once. The website only repaid $20,000 per week. It took her a long time to receive the money, so she began gambling again. The better part of $8 million was lost. It’s thought that the Koroneos Group will never see it returned–insurance covered only $500,000.
Online gambling wasn’t the only place the money was spent. Wendy Jobson helped pay for a house with the cash. She also bought a luxury box at Etihad Stadium and took a first-class trip to London with her daughter. At the same time, she sold her original home for $196,000 and used this to pay back some of the stolen money, which the judge said showed she regretted what she’d done.
Still, that judgement wasn’t enough to keep Wendy Jobson out of jail. The defence showed evidence Wendy Jobson could write with her non-dominant hand and switched voices effortlessly while her additional personas were supposedly surfacing. This wasn’t enough to save the woman from a jail sentence, because Judge Phillip Priest said she had her main personality in control often, but she continued to hide evidence of her wrongdoing.
Though the court believed the multiple personalities mitigated her criminal behaviour, this didn’t eliminate her responsibility for what happened. The sentence was reduced because a long jail sentence might worsen her condition.
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