A BENDIGO man who defrauded the National Disability Insurance Agency of more than $300,000 has paid the money back in full ahead of his sentencing.
Mitchell John Landry, 23, appeared in the County Court on Wednesday, having previously pleaded guilty to the charges of fraud and attempted fraud.
The court heard Landry, the owner of Mitchell's Mowing and Property Services, received more than $342,940 for false service bookings he made to the NDIA between June and September 2018.
Landry also tried to defraud the NDIA of a further $156,338 between June and August of the same year, but his claims were unsuccessful.
Mitchell's Mowing and Property Services initially provided legitimate services, for which Landry received payments from the NDIA.
But Landry went on to make the fraudulent claims, including more than 1000 hours of work for a client in NSW over an eight-month period and more than 1200 hours of work for another client in an overlapping timeframe.
Landry accessed the accounts of 24 NDIS participants through his fraudulent actions.
The court heard Landry used the money he received from the NDIA to buy a Mercedes Benz Sprint Van and several properties in the Bendigo area.
The funds were deposited into a bank account in Landry's name, and he was registered as the director and sole trader of Mitchell's Mowing and Property Services.
Defence counsel Charles Morgan told the court Landry had paid back the money in full ahead of his sentencing.
Mr Morgan tendered a report from a clinical neuropsychologist to the court, which noted Landry had a longstanding fixation with money.
The report also noted that there was a causal link between Landry's autism spectrum disorder diagnosis and his offending, although it was hard to determine the extent of that connection.
Mr Morgan said the report also commented that Landry's disorder would make prison more onerous for him.
The defence counsel said while Landry was currently serving a community corrections order for other fraud charges, he was yet to receive offence-specific treatment.
Prosecutor Andrew Sim said it seemed "extraordinarily remarkable" that Landry had not made any progress with treatment.
Mr Sim also submitted that the offending could not be described as opportunistic or unsophisticated because Landry committed the crimes over an extended period.
The prosecutor also noted that the link between Landry's offending and his autism diagnosis was "tenuous".
Chief Judge Peter Kidd said he was still considering whether he should impose a term of imprisonment.
The chief judge adjourned sentencing to a date later this month. Landry's bail was extended to that next court date.
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