A former South Australian bureaucrat has been jailed for two years for lying on her CV to secure a government job.
The court took into account her mental health issues, including her bipolar disorder, but described the offending as “serious”.
Lying on her CV using false work history
Veronica Theriault worked as chief information officer with the Department of Premier and Cabinet earning a salary of $270,000.
She used a Curriculum Vitae with false information about her education and work history to get the job.
Furthermore, Theriault provided false references, including one from her brother which claimed that she previously worked for ‘Wotif’.
Neither her, or her brother worked for the company.
She suffered mental health issues shortly after starting the job, and her crimes uncovered a short time later.
Offending ‘sophisticated and required planning’
Theriault pleaded guilty to deception, dishonesty dealing with documents and abuse of public office.
Judge Michael Boylan sentenced her to 25 months in jail, with a non-parole period of 12 months.
He described the offending as sophisticated and required 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 fails to carry out basic checks
Industrial advocate Miles Heffernan from IR Claims said the case illustrates the importance of employers conducting proper background checks.
“There’s no doubt that this is a massive balls-up by the South Australian government,” he said.
“Some proper checking would detect this fraud,”
Mr Heffernan said employers can engage the services of a professional vetting company to check the backgrounds of prospective employees.
In addition, he reminded job seekers that lying about credentials is fraud.
“If there is a lesson to take from this sad case, it is to never tell lies when applying for a job,” Mr Heffernan said.
“Because not only will you lose your job, but you could also end up in jail.”
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