Single mum on benefits accused of conning lovelorn men in their 60s and 70s out of $2m

A romance scam is a confidence trick involving feigned romantic intentions towards a victim, gaining their affection, and then using that goodwill to commit fraud. Fraudulent acts may involve access to the victims’ money, bank accounts, credit cards, passports, e-mail accounts, or national identification numbers or by getting the victims to commit financial fraud on their behalf.

Her name is kept from us, but she is a disgrace, robbing lonely old men out of all their money, mind you she is on the pension collecting over $1500 a fortnight already. Three thousand dollars a month, but she wanted more for herself, over 2 million dollars she extracted from these old blokes with all sorts of bullshit lies. A real pro, 5 bank accounts, money laundering, online ads, newspapers, the sexy photos…Greedy disgusting person

Don’t think for a minute she was doing this for her kids. No the money spent on outrageously expensive hand bags, sports cars and plastic surgery and the like. Not things useful to her four children aged 2 to 16

Single mum on benefits accused of conning lovelorn men in their 60s and 70s out of $2m

The suspect is led away by police / Picture: Matt Jewell

The suspect, a mother of four, is led away by police in Miller in Sydney’s west.

  • Mother of four, 39, was arrested yesterday in Miller
  • Received $1500 a fortnight through social security
  • Conned money from three men without meeting them
  • Had a sexual relationship with another
  • Two victims were in their 60s, two in their 70s

A SINGLE mother on benefits prowled lonely hearts messages online and in ­newspapers to “romance scam” more than $2 million from lovelorn men.

The 39-year-old woman was arrested yesterday at her Miller home in Sydney’s West and is understood to be the first person in Australia to be charged with the crime more commonly associated with Nigerian fraudsters.

The woman allegedly scammed four men using a variety of convincing stories.

The woman allegedly scammed four men using a variety of convincing stories.

The mother of four children, aged two to 16, received $1500 a fortnight in social ­security benefits. But she ­allegedly spent the proceeds from her romance fraud on sports cars, exotic holidays, Louis Vuitton handbags and plastic surgery.

She also allegedly bought a house in Miller, tore it down and built a new one.

Three of the men handed over money to the woman without even meeting her while one, an interstate ­businessman, had a sexual ­relationship with her at a north shore apartment that he owned.

The profile photo the woman used online to lure men / Picture: Supplied

The profile photo the woman used online to lure men

“This woman was very good at convincing men that she was in love with them and that they were in a relationship,’’ said Detective Superintendent ­Arthur Katsogiannis, the head of the NSW Fraud and ­Cybercrime Squad.

Police will allege the woman had five bank ­accounts and spun a number of sob stories to the victims, which all ended in her needing them to put money in her bank accounts.

“She would tell the men that a relative in Egypt had died and she needed money to get the funds released from the state or her child needed an operation in Melbourne,’’ Detective Katsogiannis said.

“We will allege she used a number of these stories to play on the men’s good nature and emotions.’’

Police seize cars from the woman’s Western Sydney home as she is led away by police / Pic

Police seize cars from the woman’s Western Sydney home as she is led away by police

Police will also claim she laundered the money by buying expensive cars and then selling them at a loss.

One victim was allegedly duped of $1.9 million and the other three gave over $190,000, $58,000 and $12,000. Two of the men were aged in their 60s and another two were in their 70s. Police believe the woman could have many more victims.

“This sort of scam is often operated from overseas and we believe this is the first time anyone has been charged with doing it in Australia,” Detective Katsogiannis said.

“The men who have come forward are to be commended. It takes a lot of courage to report something potentially very embarrassing.’’

Police froze more than a $1 million in cash and assets and yesterday seized cars from the woman’s home.

The woman targeted older men who placed ads on singles message boards Lavalife and Meeting Point.

“We live in a world where love has grown cold, loneliness is increasing,” Detective Katsogiannis said.

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Michael Williamson jailed for at least five years over HSU fraud

Another greedy union official bites the dust, jailed for 5 years, that’s good, but not enough when one considers what he got up to. Filling his own and his families pockets with as much money as they could grab from the low paid workers this bastard was supposed to represent. Paying family owned companies hundreds of thousands of dollars for non existent or grossly over charging for work in the union.

I posted about his antics here several years ago along with Craig Thompson and the high living they felt was a free for all “Entitlement”

I will piece together my other posts and add them here shortly. Tip of the iceburg people…

Michael Williamson jailed for at least five years over HSU fraud

Updated 5 minutes ago

Former Health Services Union boss Michael Williamson has been sentenced to up to seven-and-a-half years in jail for fraud.

The New South Wales District Court was packed as sentencing Judge David Frearson described Williamson as “brazen and arrogant”.

The judge said Williamson was in a position of power when he defrauded the union of nearly $1 million.

The 60-year-old will be eligible for parole after serving five years in prison.

Williamson had been facing a possible 20 years in jail after pleading guilty to four charges including fraud and recruiting others to hinder a police investigation.

Prosecutors say Williamson, who was already on a salary of about $500,000, was motivated by greed.

The court has been told the former Australian Labor Party president submitted false invoices to the union from a company in his wife’s name.

Williamson’s lawyers say he has apologised and taken full responsibility for his actions, noting he has also suffered depression since his behaviour was exposed.

More to come.

Michael Williamson apologises for fraud as Health Services Union claims back funds

Updated Wed 16 Oct 2013

Disgraced former ALP president Michael Williamson has apologised to members of the Health Services Union (HSU) for his large-scale fraud, as the organisation moves to recoup millions of dollars.

Williamson appeared in Sydney’s Downing Centre District Court yesterday and admitted funnelling almost $1 million of union funds into companies he had an interest in as well as recruiting union members to help cover his tracks.

Williamson admitted claiming $340,000 for a business called Canme Services – which was registered in his wife Julieanne’s name – although no services were ever provided.

He also admitted to defrauding the union out of $600,000 through a consulting company called Access Focus.

The HSU says it has now finalised its civil claim against Williamson in the New South Wales Supreme Court.

He has been ordered to pay the union $5 million for breaches of his duty, overpayments of remuneration and negligence.

But it is unclear how much of the money will be recovered because Williamson has declared himself bankrupt.

Branch secretary Gerard Hayes says the union will still be able to claw back significant funds.

“We are able to withhold $1.1 million out of his superannuation and we are withholding $600,000 of unpaid entitlements,” he said.

“And very importantly as well a public apology will be issued to our members.”

Members of the HSU include some of the lowest-paid health workers such as cleaners and support staff.

In his letter of apology released by the union, Williamson urges members not to quit saying he accepts responsibility for what he did:

“I wish to place on record my sincere apology to all of you.

“You placed your trust in me when I was the general secretary and I abused that trust.

“I apologise unreservedly to all of you for my actions, which were not in keeping with the position I formerly held.

“I have agreed to assist the union in recovery actions against others, and will honour that agreement.

“The court will determine the penalty I am to receive, but it won’t remove the fact I have to live with this matter until the day I die.”

The HSU says the settlement was reached with the help of independent mediator, the former federal attorney-general Robert McClelland.

Mr Hayes says it is a line in the sand for the beleaguered union.

“This puts the last couple of years of turmoil to bed and it gets the union focused on what the union should be focused on,” he said.

Sentencing for Williamson begins in two weeks.

Former HSU boss Michael Williamson admits fraud offences

Updated Tue 15 Oct 2013

Former Australian Labor Party president Michael Williamson has pleaded guilty to funnelling almost $1 million from the Health Services Union (HSU) to businesses he had an interest in.

Williamson, who was arrested when detectives raided his Maroubra home in Sydney’s east last year, now faces jail for the offences.

The police investigation probed allegations of corruption during his time at the HSU aired by the union’s national secretary, Kathy Jackson.

He was accused of dozens of offences, including money laundering, dealing with the proceeds of crime and dishonestly dealing with hundreds of thousands of dollars of union funds.

Williamson appeared in Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court this morning with his solicitor Vivian Evans.

The prosecutor told Chief Magistrate Graham Henson that several offences had been folded into four formal charges that Williamson would plead guilty to.

Williamson admitted funnelling nearly $340,000 into a business called Canme Services, which was registered in his wife Julieanne’s name.

Dozens of cheques were made out to Canme for services that were never provided to the union.

He also admitted to defrauding the union out of $600,000 through a consulting company called Access Focus.

It is believed Williamson received a massive windfall from the company due to inflated fees billed to the HSU.

The former unionist also pleaded guilty to fabricating invoices to cover his tracks in returns to the union in February last year.

Caught shredding evidence

The final guilty plea came in relation to recruiting of other union members to help destroy evidence and hinder a police investigation.

Last year, Williamson was caught trying to shred documents when he was confronted by the NSW Fraud Squad at the union offices in Sydney’s CBD.

He has pleaded guilty to recruiting Carron Gilleland to help him destroy evidence in the case.

‘Absolutely outrageous nepotism’

SMH investigative reporter Kate McClymont broke the story that led to the charges. She has told the ABC it is a case of “absolutely outrageous nepotism”.

“Especially when you think that the members of the HSU are hospital cleaners, orderlies, among the lowest paid unionists in the country,” she said.

McClymont is not surprised Williamson pleaded guilty, saying there were “certain pressures put on him” to do so.

“For instance, his son Christopher was one of those that was possibly facing criminal charges. So I think that there has been some argy bargy going on over the last couple of months that has led to his guilty plea today,” she said.

Listen to McClymont’s interview with the ABC.

Williamson stayed quiet through the proceedings today, with the prosecutor informing the court of the amended charge sheet.

He emerged from court speaking on a mobile phone and ignored the hive of media that had assembled.

Williamson resigned from the HSU late last year, less than two weeks after a leaked report into the union’s internal workings alleged he engaged in nepotism by funnelling union funds to himself and his family.

The report, by Ian Temby QC and Dennis Robertson, detailed allegations of multi-million-dollar instances of nepotism, maladministration and cronyism.

It said Williamson had a salary of almost $400,000 and alleged five members of his family were among the union’s best paid employees.

The magistrate committed Williamson to sentencing on October 28 in the District Court.

Police have previously said they expect to make more arrests in the case.

Closure for union members

The Australian Council of Trades Union (ACTU) says it hopes Williamson faces the full force of the law.

ACTU president Ged Kearney says he deserves whatever punishment he receives.

“Defrauding union members of their money is something that the union movement cannot abide and will not stand for,” she said.

“These offences are very serious and we’re very pleased that they will be dealt with properly by the criminal law.”

The New South Wales secretary of the HSU, Gerard Hayes, says today’s guilty pleas by Williamson will help bring closure for the union’s members.

“There are 30,000 victims in this matter,” he said.

“They needed closure and this certainly brings closure for them.”

Queen of Con, Jody Harris

Australia’s Queen of Con, Jody Harris

Paul Anderson

IF CONWOMAN Jody Harris had used her extraordinary nous and talent for good instead of criminal gain she could have been anything.

Dubbed Australia’s greatest con-woman by police for good reason, Harris committed an amazing con-job spree along the eastern seaboard; fleecing women’s bank accounts and stealing policemen’s hearts.

Police who investigated Harris – and those who slept with her – have grudgingly admitted she is the best female confidence swindler this country has ever seen.

Her methods were so impressive, and her vixen-like persona so elusive, that one senior Victorian police officer likened her to the famed US conman Frank Abagnale – the man who inspired the hit film Catch Me If You Can.

As a young man, Abagnale cashed millions of dollars’ worth of fraudulent cheques while posing as a pilot, doctor, lawyer and professor.

A major thorn in the side of the FBI, he seduced a handful of women before he was finally arrested.

During her run, Harris (now known by the surname Harding) posed as an air hostess, doctor, psychiatrist, policewoman and even the niece of slain Melbourne underworld figure Mario Condello as she befriended women and gleaned documents and information necessary to impersonate them and plunder their banks accounts.

Born in Queensland, Harris was the daughter of a violent father and now well-known human rights activist turned lawyer Debbie Kilroy (nee Harding).

Harris had an abused and disrupted childhood.


Conwoman Jody Harris bled victims’ bank accounts dry in three states.

Judge Felicity Hampel would confirm in Melbourne’s County Court: “You were denied in your childhood the safety and stability which family life should provide children.”

Debbie was only 17 when she gave birth to Jody.

After she and her daughter were assaulted, Debbie left her violent husband.

“(Jody’s) father had always inflicted violence on me and I stayed in that, but the day that he hit her with a broom handle in the chest because she was crying, I actually left the relationship,” Debbie explained in the County Court.

Barrister Julie Sutherland told the same court that, after being abused by an uncle, Harris started committing crime at the age of 14.

She was even able to change all my personal details on the cards to hers to the point where, when I tried to change them back to mine, I could hardly prove who I was any more

“Even at 14 she’s making out she’s a policewoman and committing frauds, and so it goes on – year after sorry year,” Ms Sutherland said.

Years on, and using clever cover stories – while sometimes disguised in wigs and sunglasses – Harris got chummy with chosen victims and stole their identities before making a mockery of bank security by withdrawing thousands.


Jody Harris used all her charms to rack up debts under other peoples’ names.

She lived it up, sating her taste for luxury goods buying jewellery, designer clothes and accessories (her favourite brand was Louis Vuitton).

She stayed in five-star hotels where, on occasion, she stole personal documents from staff and guests at the gym facilities.

On one occasion on the streets of Melbourne, she pretended to be a detective and pulled over a 21-year-old woman named Alysha Searle.

Flashing a badge, she tricked Ms Searle into handing over her licence.

“She was very convincing,” Ms Searle would later say in court.

Using the licence, Harris withdrew $3000 from Ms Searle’s bank account and changed the password.

That was not the first time Harris had successfully posed as a copper.

According to court testimony from Victoria Police internal affairs investigator Det-Sgt Frank Torcasio, there was an allegation that Harris impersonated a policewoman and gained access to the Roma Street police complex in Brisbane in 1998.

Det-Sgt Torcasio also confirmed an allegation that Harris had lived with a Sydney detective for about six months.


Jody Harris is arrested in Sydney in 2006.

He also told the County Court that Harris had socialised with Victorian policemen in 2001 while pretending to be a visiting detective from New South Wales.

The Victorian cops had not doubted her story.

“They took it on face value on the flashing of a badge,” Det-Sgt Torcasio told the court.

About 12 years before she hooked up with Acting-Sgt Andrew Twining, Harris had met another Victorian policeman who worked at the Russell Street police station.

Harris told that officer that she was the daughter of an advertising executive and had attended a prestigious Brisbane girls’ school.

A relationship blossomed between the two; a relationship that ended that policeman’s career.

“I think she just had a fixation with me because I was a copper,” that former officer told the Sunday Herald Sun.

Harris became the focus of Victorian detectives in early 2006.

On May 19 that year, detective Paul Bertoncello spoke to this author and provided full details of Harris’s crime wave for a front-page story.


Jody Harris looked much more innocent in her pictures, even when she was snapped at Brisbane’s Correctional Centre in 2000.

“It’s like chasing a phantom,” Sen-Det Bertoncello said.

“She’s using different names and has proved very hard to track down.”

Victims included women such as Anita Mulligan, who fell and hit her head in the Melbourne CBD one night.

Harris swooped and drove Ms Mulligan to hospital, where she stole her licence and credit card before ringing her father to glean personal information.

“She told my dad she was a nurse and that her de facto was a police officer,” Ms Mulligan later told the Herald Sun.

“She conned my father and got whatever information she needed out of him.”

Harris changed Ms Mulligan’s bank account password and stole $10,500 from her account.

Posing as the daughter of a wealthy businessman, the “Queen of Con” tricked boutique clothing store owner Nova Gordon.

Using Ms Gordon’s stolen licence, Harris stole $37,870 from the bank – despite Ms Gordon freezing her account.


Police seized a huge array of photos of fake licences, credit cards and other IDs in the possession of Jody Harris, aka Jody Pearson-Harding and Jody Kilroy.

“She had all the trappings and pulled up outside my shop in a new four-wheel drive Lexus, dripping in jewellery,” Gordon would later say.

“I found out that Jody had been in the branch and convinced them she was me, and had the block removed. Her systems were better than ours.”

Another of Harris’ victims told police: “She was even able to change all my personal details on the cards to hers to the point where, when I tried to change them back to mine, I could hardly prove who I was any more.”

Another victim, Amanda Urquhart, stated: “You can remove yourself from it if people are using your ID, but if they start pretending to be you – that’s when it starts getting creepy.”

Less than a week after the first Herald Sun story appeared in May 2006, Harris rang Sen-Det Bertoncello’s office to bait her hunters.

She told investigators that she had been living in South Yarra.

It was a taunt: catch me if you can.

Detectives raided the vacated unit and found a Queensland police badge, a Victoria Police shirt and a Virgin Blue hostess outfit along with name tag, pin and crew bag tags.

Andrew Twining was on a cruise-ship holiday when a mate of his informed him about the true identity of his girlfriend.


Frank Abagnale (Leonardo Dicaprio) surrounds himself with stewardesses, who have no trouble believing he is an airline pilot in the film Catch Me If You Can.

Upon his return to Melbourne, Mr Twining helped a joint interstate police operation arrest Harris.

On July 6, 2006 he drove to Sydney to trip the trap.

Police swooped and netted the conwoman.

In Harris’s possession they found wigs, police property and more than 100 items of identification including a false Australian passport, driver’s licences, bank and credit cards, birth certificates, Medicare cards and even two Californian driver’s licences.

In the custody of NSW detectives, a drab and defeated-looking Harris spoke her mind to her captors, saying she must have been in “f—ing Hicksville full of f—ing two-headed c—s.”

“No offence,” she added facetiously.

In September 2006 at the age of 28, Harris pleaded guilty to 43 charges in NSW where she had bought more than $175,000 worth of goods and services using credit and bank cards stolen from 33 victims.

Items included a $3950 TAG Heuer diamond watch, a $1600 designer “bichoodle” poodle pup, bags, expensive clothes and shoes, hair extensions and a pearl necklace.

In sentencing her to four years’ jail with a minimum of 3 1/2, Magistrate Allan Moore said: “There is little doubt you are a person of intellect; a person of skill. One would have to suggest strongly that this was a matter of greed.”

In the Melbourne County Court, Harris pleaded guilty to a 36-count presentment relating to 15 victims.

Between January and May 2006, she stole a total $120,180 cash from various Victorian banks.

She used that money, in part, to purchase plane tickets, fancy dinners, hotel rooms, Louis Vuitton gear, clothing and lingerie.

Judge Hampel was told that Harris wanted to change her ways and replicate the shining example of her mother – a prisoner support advocate and solicitor with an Order of Australia honour to her name.

Harris also provided police with a video interview revealing her methods of operation for fraud investigators to study.

Just like Frank Abagnale, she had shared her criminal expertise with law enforcement agencies.

In sentencing Harris on December 19, 2008, Judge Hampel told her: “Your (record of) interview makes it clear that you took pride in the audacity of your activity, that you revelled in the publicity and that you used the money and credit to provide yourself with an ostentatiously luxurious lifestyle.”

It was a lifestyle that cost Jody Harris much more than she gained during her reign as the queen of con.




Peter Finn, aka the Fat Aussie “Barstard” you are the thief!-Update must read

There comes a time when you have to stand up and have your say. This bloke is funny, he is popular on YouTube. I have been to his YouTube channel many a time and agreed with what he has had to say about certain issues. Often says what others wont.Makes lot of money with all those views probably


Because he is also a thief. He stole money of good people. One couple ultimately in the end, who  won an auction of his tooth he said was to go Royal Children’s Hospital in Brissy. he spent it on himself, who cares on what.

Well he has been convicted and sentenced to 6 months jail suspended for 12 months.

I wrote on his YouTube channel, but I will NOT be surprised if it gets deleted. because he often says ask me anything. So I did, Why did you keep the tooth money?

Peter Finn, aka The Fat Aussie Barstard, has been sentenced to 200 hours community service for conducting an unlawful appeal for support and converting the money for his own use

UPDATE 20/07/12

Just when you think this could not get worse, this bloke has the audacity to post a apology on youtube (where he makes heaps of money from videos) and asks folks to watch a video with ads, to help pay the money BACK. Can you believe it?

He is not sorry, not genuine, he has $$ on his mind, and wants to capitalise on it. Who knows how much he will make from the poor fools who click through…Sick and one of the lowest acts I have ever seen on the internet Peter Finn.

He says he deserves the flak, yet he must of spent the entire day deleting or blocking people like me who ask him genuine fair questions. he refuses to dig deeper that a crappy self serving apology…Thanks to screen caps here it is folks. But to see what’s been going on, at his site go to the bottom of this page…A fair dinkum wanker…

Makes a living bagging others, and now cannot handle the heat!

Just when you think this could not get worse, this bloke has the audacity to post a apology on youtube (where he makes heaps of money from videos) and asks folks to watch a video with ads, to help pay the money BACK. Can you believe it?

I have made this VIDEO so we dont need to go fill his dirty pockets by going to his channel and earn him one measly cent….I implore to to stay away from his site.


Peter Finn, aka the Fat Aussie “Barstard” spent Brisbane Royal Children’s Hospital charity funds

by: Robyn Ironside
From: The Courier-Mail
July 18, 2012

A MAN who extracted his own tooth and then auctioned it off online has been ordered to do 200 hours community service.

Peter Michael Finn, who uses the alias the ‘Fat Aussie Barstard’ (sic) claimed any money raised from the sale of his incisor would go to the Royal Brisbane Children’s Hospital.

He even appeared on national television to promote the stunt.

The winning bid on eBay was $6543.21 but the money was never donated to the hospital or any other charity.

He was charged with conducting an unlawful appeal and converting the money for his own use following an Office of Fair Trading investigation.

Appearing in Noosa Magistrates Court on Wednesday, Finn pleaded guilty to both offences.

The court was told he did not apply for a sanction from the Office of Fair Trading for his public appeal.

A conviction was recorded and he was also sentenced to six months jail, suspended for 12 months.

This afternoon most of Finn’s YouTube appearances were removed, with the exception of his presentation of the tooth to the winning bidder. 


click on image for full size

The Official Office of Fair Trading Press release on this slime-ball Peter Finn (Fat Aussie Barstard) the thief

Craig Thomson resigns-Only to be become an Independant?-GUILTY on Fraud

Craig Thomson found guilty on fraud charges over union funds used for prostitutes

UPDATED February 18, 2014

So the lying cheating rorting ex MP and senior union official has been found guilty. All the lies on TV and in Parliament to his fellow MP’s has been proven. What now? well 10 years of appeals probably, forget jail, he will not do any time for this, most likely keep his parliamentary pension and perks BUT It is yet to be seen what the union will now do about him to save face with union members, spend 3 million to sue him for 40 grand? Sick and wrong isn’t it…

Craig Thomson entering court this morning to learn his fate on fraud charges.

Craig Thomson entering court this morning to learn his fate on fraud charges.


UPDATE: THE former union official accused of setting Craig Thomson up “with a bunch of hookers” says he feels vindicated after the disgraced former MP was today found guilty of using members’ funds to pay for sex.

Thomson accused Marco Balano, former deputy general secretary of Health Services Union East, of setting him up after threatening to destroy his career before allegations of misusing his union credit cards surfaced.

A defiant Thomson publicly denied the allegations as untrue for several years before his arrest by police at his parliamentary office in January last year.

He even made an impassioned plea to parliament in 2012 during which he claimed Mr Bolano “threatened to set me up with hookers”.

“There was a particular threat made … by Marco Bolano … to the effect that he would seek to ruin any political career that I might have sought by setting me up with a ‘bunch of hookers’,” Thomson claimed.

Craig Thomson found guilty on fraud charges 2:53

Play video

He also claimed to have several witnesses who signed statements of complaint in 2005 claiming they had witnessed Mr Bolano threatening to try and set Mr Thomson up with prostitutes.

Mr Bolano later responded to the claims calling them “fantastic” and “dishonest”.

Magistrate Charlie Rozencwajg today found Thomson was guilty of six charges of using HSU credit cards to pay for sex, as well as other charges including theft.

Other charges involving hiring pornographic movies and spousal travel were dismissed.

“He’s got the hide of a rhinoceros,” Mr Bolano said

“I knew there was no way he could get out of it,” he said.

“It is a vindication though, that he has been found guilty.

“It is a vindication that the lies he told about me under parliamentary privilege have been proven to be c — p.”

Mr Bolano said he believed Thomson had an “overwhelming sense of entitlement”.

“I actually believe in his mind, even though he knows he breached the law, he doesn’t believe he did anything wrong,” he said.

“But these offences took place immediately after he took office (in 2003).

“It was the culture within the union.”

Escort says former MP Thomson ‘lying’ 1:30

Play video

An escort who says she met with Craig Thomson claims he denied using union credit cards to pay for sex.

Mr Bolano said the planned Royal Commission into unions would uncover more skeletons in union cupboards.

HSU acting national secretary Chris Brown said the union would look at options to recover the money defrauded by Mr Thomson.

“I promised the HSU members that we would seek to recover any monies stolen from the union and that is exactly what we intend to do,” he said.

Mr Thomson is still facing civil proceedings in the Federal Court brought by the General Manager of Fair Work Australia.

In his decision announced today, Mr Rozencwajg found Thomson must have known he didn’t have authority to use the card for sex.

“It was an affront to common sense to say it allowed paying for sex workers,” he said.

Thomson slumped back in his chair as Mr Rozencwajg read his way through his ruling, which lasted more than 30 minutes.

A packed courtroom watched as Mr Rozencwajg, who has presided over Mr Thomson’s case since he first appeared in court last February, handed down his decision just after 11am AEST.

Mr Thomson, who pleaded not guilty to 145 dishonesty charges over the alleged misuse of $28,449 between 2002 and 2008, has persistently denied any wrongdoing.

But police argued he used members’ funds while head of the HSU to pay for porn, prostitutes, travel for his then wife, and cigarettes.

During a lengthy contest hearing last month prosecutors tendered more than 80 witness statements including some from escort workers.

One, who used the name Misty, said she remembered Mr Thomson clearly.

She said she met him on a series of occasions while she was working for Room Services escort agency in Sydney’s Surry Hills between 2007 and 2008.

In her statement, tendered at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court during the hearing, the woman said she regularly met him in Sydney’s CBD.

He had introduced himself as Craig, a solicitor from the NSW Central Coast.

“Sex always occurred on the bed and he would shower before and after,” she said.

“On the occasions when Craig and I met, as part of my services he started by offering me a glass of champagne.

“From memory he already had the champagne ready.”

They met on about six occasions, she said.

“He was a person who I noticed did not wear a wedding ring and did not speak of having a wife or whether he was in any form of committed relationship,” she said.

“He was one of three men who I would have called a regular client.’’

Nelson Da Silva, a former director of escort service Tiffany’s Girls, said Mr Thomson would have been one of about 200 to visit the Sydney brothel on a Saturday night in June 2005.

He told police his records matched a $418 transaction on Mr Thomson’s HSU Commonwealth Bank MasterCard.

“It stated the time frame for the booking was 1.5 hours with $190 for the room rental,” he said.

“The room was RT which was a Red Turbo Spa Room — this room was one of our expensive rooms.”

Mr Thomson’s defence barrister, Greg James, QC, said Mr Thomson did not deny making the transactions but argued about his authority to do so.

The case had been thrown into turmoil after closing submissions by both parties last month, when Mr Rozencwajg asked prosecutors about the wording of the charges.

He said many of the theft and deception charges were unnecessarily confusing and complex and may have been charged incorrectly.

The Abbott Government wants Mr Thomson and Bill Shorten to say both sorry following the verdict.

“Mr Thomson owes an apology to the thousands of honest union members he defrauded, in addition to the Parliament and public, whom he also misled,” Employment Minister Eric Abetz said.

The Senator believes the Opposition Leader should follow on behalf of the Labor Party, “for its role in promoting and protecting Craig Thomson for so many years”.

“Until he does so, Australians can have no confidence that the party has learned any lessons from the Thomson saga.”

The Coalition claims the results proves the need for a Royal Commission into union corruption.

Mr Thomson will return to court on March 18 for a plea hearing.

Update-This poor excuse of a public official has spend more than an hour under parliamentary privilege, blaming everyone else, pointing fingers, justifying the unjustifiable, declaring that all sorts of frauds are possible.BUT non include anything he has ever done. He is a saint according to him…He has not ADDRESSED one accusation and try to justify it…

This joke will go down in history as the most embarrassing speech ever…Think Pauline Hansen and Migrants…this tops everything…

Well you thieving little moron. I have scanned documents, sent to me by many sources, (some from your so called allies) and  I think I will release them one a day at a time, to ridicule your pathetic attempts to defect your illegal, behaviours…

Let us disregard your moral misdemeanours… Here is this disgusting PM’s email he sent to his colleagues bragging about Fairfax last year……

Craig Thomson Email he spoke about today...I have 30 more you loser....

Craig Thomson Email he spoke about today…I have 30 more you loser….

Thomson resigns from ALP as PM seeks to distance govt from scandals

Craig Thomson is expected to still vote with the Labor government from the crossbenches.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has sought to salvage her government by distancing it from embattled MPs Peter Slipper and Craig Thomson, who has quit the Labor Party at her request.

Mr Thomson, who has been battling allegations for several years that he misused his credit card as a union official before entering parliament, will join the cross-benches as an independent.

Ms Gillard spoke to Mr Thomson on Saturday night and told him it was no longer in the interests of the government for him to remain part of the Labor caucus.

On Sunday morning, she told Mr Slipper that she thought he should remain out of the Speaker’s chair “for a further period of time”.

Mr Slipper stepped aside as Speaker last week amid allegations of misuse of tax-payer funded Cabcharge vouchers and sexual harassment of a staffer.

She added that it was her understanding that Mr Slipper would not be able to vote in Parliament.

Ms Gillard, who returned on the weekend from an Anzac Day trip to Turkey, said she had acted because “a line had been crossed” and she wanted to restore the public’s faith in the parliament.

“I feel keenly Australians are looking at this parliament and at the moment they see a dark cloud over it,” she said on Sunday.

“I want to be sure that Australians can look at this institution and feel respect for this institution.”

Mr Thomson’s move to the cross-bench reduce Labor’s numbers to 70 votes in the House of Representatives. The Coalition has 71 votes.

Labor also has the casting vote of Acting Speaker Anna Burke. Mr Thomson is expected to still vote with Labor.

On the cross-bench, the government retains agreements with Greens MP Adam Bandt and independents Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott.

Ms Gillard said it was important to respect Parliament but also to respect the presumption of innocence in relation to both Mr Slipper and Mr Thomson.

“Coming back to Australia, being right here now, I have felt very sharply the judgments and concerns of the Australian people,” she said.

“I’m not going to put myself in the position of adjudicating these matters … There is not one person standing here today, not me or any of you, who is in possession of the full facts of either or these matters.

“I don’t believe as a nation we want to get to the situation where people are prejudged.”

Questioned on whether she would now revisit independent MP Andrew Wilkie’s poker machine reforms, Ms Gillard said the proposal did not have enough support to pass Parliament and maintained her commitment to Labor’s proposed reforms.

Mr Wilkie tore up his agreement to support Labor earlier this year over its failure to deliver his reforms on pokie machines but has resumed talks, while independent MP Bob Katter and WA Nationals MP Tony Crook vote with the Coalition.

Ms Gillard reiterated her intention to bring the budget back into surplus.

Grubby politics destroying public confidence

As Labor grapples with the extreme politics of minority government, it is becoming clear that, driven by desperation to stay in power, this government has lost its bearings.

Neither the Peter Slipper affair nor the Health Services Union imbroglio have fully played out. It is not clear which, if any, current or former HSU officials, including MP Craig Thomson, may face charges over alleged rorting of union funds. Nor is it apparent whether the sexual harassment and travel entitlements misuse allegations against Mr Slipper are true.

With respect to the Slipper affair, we do not know if there has been any involvement by members of the Coalition, their staff, or the Liberal or National parties, in bringing the Slipper allegations to light. Certainly Tony Abbott’s responses when queried on this have not ruled anything much out.

What is obvious to the public at large is that in an atmosphere where the government’s grip on power is up for grabs every day, there has been a weakened sense of propriety.

Minority government has left the Labor Party, with Julia Gillard at the helm, seemingly incapable of making the wise choices necessary for good government.

Regardless of the outcome of the investigations, Mr Slipper was a very unwise choice as the Speaker of the House, and should never have been appointed to that role.

Given its pivotal role in our Parliament, this position should be filled by someone whose behaviour at the very least is not going to distract from the business of presiding over the Parliament.

Had the Prime Minister the fortitude, or even the interest, she should have investigated suggestions that Mr Slipper’s behaviour made him unsuitable.

Before he was appointed it was known that Mr Slipper was prone to errors in his travel entitlements. He had already been forced to pay back expenses wrongly claimed. Other questions were circling, and his own Liberal National Party, having tolerated his behaviour for years, was moving, glacially, towards disendorsing him.

And even though Mr Slipper has this week strenuously denied signing blank Cabcharge dockets, The Australian Financial Review reported on Friday that the payments listed on the dockets showed peculiar and extraordinary coincidences.

It is all very well to try to excuse the Slipper appointment as one that was made necessary by politics. At the time the Financial Review said that some regarded the move as using the Speaker’s role as a pawn in an arrangement of political convenience.

But forgetting for a moment the responsibility that Ms Gillard had to appoint someone as Speaker who was fit for the job, even if she was making a purely cynical political calculation, as she most surely was, the selection of Mr Slipper was ridiculously risky. If there is even the sniff of evidence of wrongdoing, it is dangerous to leave a government’s standing dependent on that person.

Ironically she made the Russian roulette-like move to appoint Mr Slipper because she had recanted from a high stakes promise made to Tasmanian independent Andrew Wilkie to implement poker machine reforms, in order to secure his backing for her minority government. That promise had unleashed a wave of lobbying by the poker machine industry and one James Packer, so Ms Gillard retreated. But in burning Mr Wilkie, she had to find another live body to vote for her government.

In the Financial Review this week, former Clerk of the Senate Harry Evans described Mr Slipper’s appointment as a low point in the degradation of the speakership and of the House of Representatives, which has been going on for decades.

The public’s appetite for politics is already at one of its lowest ebbs. This grubby episode, on the eve of one of the most important federal budgets in many years, further destroys public confidence in the political process. It will distract from, and may even subvert, the good the government is trying to achieve by restoring the budget to surplus.

The common thread between the HSU matter and the Slipper affair is that both involve an apparent abuse of entitlements by individuals on whose vote the government relies to maintain its grip on power, and the government has been doing whatever it takes to protect them. Thursday’s high level involvement of Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten in deciding to install an administrator to take control of the HSU, again raises questions about motive, as the immediate beneficiary is the government.

Rather than thinking only of its own survival, the government should start making some good choices. That could involve ruling out Mr Slipper’s return to the speakership even if he is cleared of all allegations of wrongdoing. The fact that Mr Wilkie would not support his return to the role has seemingly forced the government’s hand on this.

Good governance would also involve the government allowing the release of the Fair Work Australia report of its investigation into the HSU, as well as the HSU’s report by barrister Ian Temby and accountant Dennis Robertson, and even considering an independent process which can deal with allegations of misconduct or fraud within unions.

UPDATE: PRIME Minister Julia Gillard has asked embattled Labor backbencher Craig Thomson to quit the party and move to the cross-bench.

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p>In an effort to assert her leadership, Ms Gillard made the announcement in Canberra this morning, ahead of Mr Thomson’s own press conference outside his electorate office in Tuggerah on the NSW Central Coast at 1pm.

“I understand the matters concerning Mr Thomson and Mr Slipper have caused Australians to become concerned about standards in public life today,” Ms Gillard told reporters.

She said Australians were looking at parliament and “seeing a dark cloud”.

Ms Gillard said after returning from overseas she spoke to Mr Thomson yesterday.

“I indicated to Mr Thomson I have decided it’s appropriate for him to no longer participate in the Labor caucus,” she said.

She has also asked Peter Slipper to step aside as Speaker for a period of time.

Mr Thomson has been the focus of claims of misuse of Health Services Union (HSU) funds during his time as its national secretary.

He allegedly used a union credit card to pay for prostitutes, lavish meals and cash withdrawals during his time as head of the union.

He is among several former and current HSU officials who are the subject of two Fair Work Australia investigations, police probes in NSW and Victoria, and an internal inquiry by former corruption buster Ian Temby QC.

Mr Thomson denies any wrongdoing during his time with the union from 2002 to 2007.

The move changes the make-up of the federal parliament, reducing Labor to 70 MPs, after deputy speaker Anna Burke takes over the Speaker’s chair from Mr Slipper, who is embroiled in allegations over taxi voucher misuse and sexual harassment.

It’s believed Mr Thomson will continue to support Labor as an independent.

The move comes as Mr Thomson will attempt to distance himself from the Government with the potentially damning release of a Fair Work Australia investigation into his alleged misconduct during his time as the Health Services Union boss.

Mr Thomson will continue to vote with the Gillard Government and will back any movement to quash no-confidence motions in the Government and the speakership of Peter Slipper, leaving Ms Gillard’s narrow grip on power intact, reports The Daily Telegraph.

Mr Thomson’s announcement is another potential crippling blow to the prospects of Ms Gillard retaining power.

Friends of Craig Thomson, who have spoken to him in the past 24 hours, told the Herald Sun this morning that the embattled MP was trying to give Ms Gillard “clear air”.

“He is a formidable character and always Cabinet material but he’s done what he has to do to give the Prime Minister clear air,” the friend said.

“There was no pressure brought to bear, this was his call.”

But sources said last night Prime Minister Julia Gillard had asked Thomson to step aside.

But Mr Thomson will still vote with the Labor government from the crossbenches.

“He will still vote with Labor, he’s a Labor man but he had to do something to stop the continuing attacks by the Coalition and Kathy Jackson who are trying to make the Gillard government less stable,” the friend said.

“Craig wants to clear the air and give the Prime Minister a clear run, despite Kathy Jackson’s attempts to remove him.”

Health Services Union national secretary Kathy Jackson first raised allegations against Mr Thomson in April, 2009, which led to a Fair Work Australia investigation and to separate inquiries by Victorian and New South Wales police.

Mr Thomson was accused of making $100,000 worth of cash advances on a union credit card without providing receipts for expenses and of using the same card to pay for prostitutes.

Ms Jackson said this morning that Mr Thomson could not avoid the allegations by moving to the cross benches.

“He claims he is innocent, I hope he doesn’t sit there on the cross benches and stay silent,” she said.

“This doesn’t solve anything; he still needs to address the allegations. He owes the members of the HSU an explanation.”

Ms Jackson said she was not trying to destabilise the Gillard Government, but merely standing up for her members.

“It’s his actions, it’s not my actions. This is a little too late for the Labor Party and the union movement – the damage has already been done,” she said.

Mr Thomson’s lawyers have asked Fair Work Australia not to release an 1100-page report into the HSU, arguing it may prejudice a criminal investigation.

Victorian and New South Wales police investigations are ongoing.

UPDATE 21/05/12

Sorry if there is a draft that has been published…I was working on a piece related to Thomson’s joke of a speech, and it disappeared…

(I pressed publish and the post vanished) Shit I cannot be that popular I garnish Political attention in a Government falling apart leading up to an election…

(Even If they do,I have 3 backups, time stamped….)

I have a massive document I have been compiling for what seems years.

Rest assured (I know via the current survey, You have been enthusiastic in contributing to the truth. What a wanker)

2 weeks training for those massive sighs…re the wife…(drag her in for justification…)

The facts will make my blog…Am I being interfered with? I wonder…

I have you covered…

Here is an email, where he bragged to his comrades in Parliament…About the riches of suing those who dare question him.

I have copies of thousands of your emails, sent to me by serious parliamentarians who take their position, Honestly and  seriously…Not as a free for all…