Shamefaced Gladstone babysitter on fraud cash shopping spree

BABY sitter Hosanna Croker ran her own child care business but one young Gladstone mum found she had been billed thousands of dollars for groceries on her credit card.

Her account had been illegally used to bill over $2000 in groceries from Coles supermarket online shopping and to pay a $250 Ergon power bill.

Mystified, none of the groceries, gift cards purchases or power bill was hers.

A Gladstone police CIB investigation quickly traced the culprit, the unsuspecting mum's baby sitter.

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Hosanna Coker
Hosanna Coker

With her long hair strikingly tinted red in contrast to her usual blonde style, Hosanna Margaret Croker, herself a mother of three, pleaded guilty in Gladstone Magistrates Court to 15 fraud charges totalling $2387; dishonest application of property of another (rental furniture from Mr Rentals); and two counts of failing to appear in court.

Croker also pleaded to being a holder of a regulated business, Gladstone Childcare Services, who failed to give new notice of a relevant change.

She had failed to apply for a Regulated Business blue card required to provide child care.

Police prosecutor Sgt Barry Stevens said the frauds were done on the Clinton mum during September and October last year.

The mum engaged Croker in June 2015 as a baby sitter and in October noticed unauthorised transactions against her credit card.

Sgt Stevens said Croker at first denied the allegations but when police found relevant documents at her home she admitted her involvement, saying she had been short of money at the time and made the purchases on her computer and phone.

Hosanna Croker
Hosanna Croker

Sgt Stevens said she was paid $15 an hour and had abused her position of trust to steal.

She rented a top loader washing machine, lounge suite and fridge through Mr Rentals but stopped making the payments.

Sgt Stevens said when company staff attended her house Croker refused entry and did not answer the emails, phone calls or letters.

Lawyer Jun Pepito said Croker had been very sick after undergoing chemotherapy as a result of a breast malignancy and blamed its side effects.

Her son also had health issues that meant trips to Brisbane.

Mr Pepito said Croker instructs she used the woman's card number to buy necessities.

Magistrate Mark Morrow accepted she had medical issues and that she likely kept the rented fridge because she needed it while not earning a high income.

He sentenced Croker to nine months jail with immediate parole.

Croker was not fined because she had no means to pay, but Mr Morrow ordered that she pay the woman compensation.

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