Fake firey’s fate to be determined soon
A FIRE brigade fraudster appeared in Lismore Local Court on Monday.
Andrew Geoffrey Stevenson, 36, of Koonorigan, recently pleaded guilty to numerous dishonesty charges against him.
Barrister Peter O'Connor handed up three references to the magistrate, including one from a pastor, one from Stevenson's wife and one from Stephen Ross of the Clarence River Wilderness Lodge.
Mr O'Connor told the magistrate the case clashed with a district court matter that he had to attend on Monday, and so Stevenson's case was adjourned for sentencing to Friday, March 13.
Stevenson lied his way onto a fire ground and dishonestly requested "urgent" help from an insurance company.
According to court documents, Stevenson provided false details to Allianz Roadside Assistance and impersonated an emergency services organisation officer last November at The Channon.
Stevenson is the director, treasurer and sole shareholder of the company NSW Bush Fire Brigades Pty Ltd.
He has several vehicles registered under his name, most of them Toyota LandCruisers and some of them bearing insignia similar to that of the NSW Rural Fire Service.
On November 8, he phoned the roadside assistance line to request "emergency fuel" for his "fire truck" which he claimed he needed to fill up with water.
The following day, the operator contacted police, concerned Stevenson was impersonating an emergency services worker.
On November 10, he phoned the assistance line again, this time because he'd locked his keys in his vehicle.
The matter was escalated to an Allianz manager and when questioned, Stevenson named his mother, a previous employer in Victoria, and his accountant as co-directors, but this was false information.
Later that night, he drove a car bearing RFS-like insignia along Terania Creek Rd at The Channon and came across a bushfire roadblock.
Speaking to a traffic management team, he claimed he was "just getting water" and told them his name was "John".
When they saw he had no water tanks on the vehicle and was asked for ID, Stevenson said: "I have nothing to say".
Stevenson's also made false declarations for two incidents in which he tried to transfer responsibility for two speeding fines to employees who were in Australia on working holiday visas.
Between October and November last year, he tried to create and present a false historic vehicle declaration to gain registration through the RMS.
At his home, he unlawfully possessed medical kits, helmets and vests with NSW Ambulance Service insignia at his home in November and lived in NSW for too long with an interstate drivers' licence.
Stevenson has pleaded guilty to impersonating an organisation officer to exercise a function, two counts of dishonestly obtaining property by deception, having goods in custody suspected of being stolen, not obtaining a NSW licence after three months, wilfully swearing falsely in an affidavit and two counts of publishing false or misleading material to obtain an advantage.
Some other charges against him have meanwhile been withdrawn.
He remains on bail.