A MAN who secretly filmed a tenant in the bathroom and defrauded the Transport Accident Commission and Australia Post of thousands of dollars has avoided jail.
Mitchell Landry, 22, appeared in the Bendigo Magistrates' Court on Tuesday after pleading guilty to three counts of obtaining property by deception, two counts of attempting to obtain property by deception, fraud, and attempted fraud.
The 22-year-old also pleaded guilty to stalking, installing and maintaining a device to record private activity, using a device to record private activity, and possessing child abuse material in relation to a separate matter in early 2018.
Magistrate Sharon McRae sentenced Landry to an 18-month community corrections order with 300 hours of community work.
Landry will also be on the sex offenders' register for eight years.
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Magistrate McRae said the main reason Landry had avoided jail time was because he was able to pay back more than $38,000 in compensation to the TAC and Australia Post.
"For such a young person, you have gotten yourself in a really difficult situation," she said.
"You had an opportunity for a fantastic job but you wrecked that by taking short cuts financially rather than working hard for it."
The court heard Landry owed about $13,440 to Australia Post after fraudulently claiming postal insurance on a series of items he purchased in March 2019.
The 22-year-old, who was working at the Junortoun Post Office at the time, claimed insurance on an iPhone, an iPad, and a number of drones.
The court heard Landry, who was also employed to undertake gardening for two TAC clients, owed about $25,000 to the commission.
Landry submitted and was paid 183 invoices for work he had already been remunerated for or did not complete.
The 22-year-old also submitted 40 other invoices for work for which he had already been paid, but these were not approved.
The court also heard in January, 2018, Landry had rented a room in his California Gully home to a 21-year-old woman and her boyfriend, who were in Australia on working visas.
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One day in the bathroom they saw what looked like a camera lens in the light globe, and upon removing it, discovered a WiFi camera.
Police searched Landry's house in late February that year and seized his iPad.
On it they found videos of the victim using the bathroom, as well as 63 images of child abuse material and 99 other illegal images.
Magistrate McRae said she was "absolutely appalled" by those offences.
"It is such a breach of trust," she said. "You breached their privacy. Those victims will always be on their guard. It was disgraceful conduct."
Magistrate McRae said she had taken into account Landry's young age, as well as his intellectual disability and other developmental issues.
She also said the media coverage of Landry's offences was "a punishment in itself".
But Magistrate McRae said Landry still had come "awfully close" to being sent to prison.
"You must understand there are no shortcuts in life," she said. "You must think before you act."
Landry will be required to complete community work and treatment programs as part of his community corrections order.
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