A former South Australian bureaucrat has been jailed for two years for lying on her Curriculum Vitae to secure a top government job.
The court took into account her mental health issues, including her bipolar disorder, but described the offending as “serious”.
False information and work history
Veronica Theriault was chief information officer with the Department of Premier and Cabinet earning a salary of $270,000.
To get the job, she had used a CV with false information about her education and work history.
Theriault also provided false references, including one from her brother in which he said that she had worked for ‘Wotif’ – neither had worked for the company.
She was only in the job for a short time before her mental health declined and her crimes were uncovered.
Offending ‘sophisticated and required some planning’
She pleaded guilty to deception, dishonesty dealing with documents and abuse of public office.
Judge Michael Boylan sentenced Theriault to 25 months in jail, with a non-parole period of 12 months.
He said the offending was sophisticated and required some planning:
“This is serious offending — you fraudulently obtained employment for which you were paid a large salary and in the course of which you may have had access to sensitive material.”
Employer failed to carry out basic checks
Leading industrial relations advocate Miles Heffernan from Industrial Relations Claims said the case illustrated the importance of employers doing proper background checks of prospective employers.
“There’s no doubt that this was a massive balls-up by the South Australian government – this fraud should have been easy to detect with some proper checking,” he said.
Mr Heffernan said if an employer has any doubts about the credentials of a job applicant, they can engage the services of a professional background checker.
He also reminded job seekers that lying about your credentials is fraud.
“If there is one lesson to take from this sad case, it is to never tell lies when you apply for a job – because if you do, and you get caught, not only could you end up losing your job, but you could also end up in jail,” Mr Heffernan said.
To contact our team at Industrial Relations Claims, please call
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