A former Bendigo Lady Braves coach and his wife have pleaded guilty to fraud offences and will have their hearing dealt with in a higher jurisdiction.
Lukas Peter Carey, who more recently was a sport and recreational manager at Ballarat City Council, is charged with eight offences, including obtaining financial advantage by deception and soliciting secret commissions.
Carey also held the position of regional manager for Bendigo Pools, but he was stood down by Belgravia Leisure in December 2016.
His wife, Jasmine Finnigan, is charged with two counts of obtaining financial advantage by deception.
The pair entered pleas of guilty to the Independent Broad-Based Anti-Corruption Commission charges at Ballarat Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.
The court was told Carey allocated consultation work to and authorised payment on behalf of the Ballarat City Council to his friends and wife totaling $184,123 over a two-year period.
Carey was then paid $31,200 in secret commissions.
Magistrate Gregory Robinson refused a summary jurisdiction application for the couple’s plea hearings to be held in the Magistrates Court.
He described Carey and Finnigan’s offending as “quite serious fraud against the City of Ballarat” and he used a position of trust to take a large amount of public money for himself.
Mr Robinson said he accepted Finnigan was in a different situation and her sentence would be less severe.
“Mr Carey and Ms Finnigan continued with their dishonesty and it’s not until now they have accepted responsibility for their offending,” Mr Robinson said.
The court was told, despite having no expertise, Finnigan was contracted to provide discussion papers on various matters, including croquet and strategies.
The court was told Carey and Finnigan did not disclose their relationship in order for her to be contracted the work and she went by the name ‘Carole’.
Prosecutor Lachlan Cameron said the offending was a breach of trust with council employees and the community. The pair’s plea hearing will be held in the County Court at Ballarat when the circuit starts on August 22.