Jump to content

Tax officer starstruck `Stupidity' led to access o

Guest Andy

Recommended Posts

Tax officer starstruck `Stupidity' led to access of records

Townsville Bulletin

12 July 2005

IDLE curiosity sparked a starstruck Townsville Commonwealth employee to search the personal taxation details of more than 20 Australian celebrities.

Former Home and Away star Bec Cartwright, Australian Idol winner Guy Sebastian, television personality Eddie McGuire and My Restaurant Rules host Ian `Dicko' Dickson were among the list of 22 celebrities whose details were accessed during a three-month period last year.

Lyndel Joy Conder just wanted to find out how much the celebrities earned.

Conder, 29, pleaded guilty in the Townsville Magistrates Court yesterday to 27 charges of knowingly obtaining information about another person contrary to the Taxation Administration Act.

She was placed on a $750 good behaviour bond for two years.

The court heard Conder, who was employed as a child support agency client service officer at the time, told officers who investigated her illegal searches she would `sit at her desk and think of celebrities to look up'.

She told them, "I am by nature a very curious person".

Crown prosecutor Aaron Guilfoyle said Conder had access to numerous Australian taxation systems as part of her job.

He said the Taxation Department placed a strong emphasis on the confidentiality of information and relied on the honesty and integrity of employees to keep it private.

The court heard Conder's illegal activity, committed between last August and November, was detected during an internal investigation.

Mr Guilfoyle said the offences involved 24 different people, 22 of whom were celebrities.

Mr Guilfoyle said Conder told the investigating officers she knew what she did was wrong.

She told them she was most interested in the celebrities' incomes and occupations, he said.

But he said she would also have had access to other personal details like their tax file numbers, bank details and spouse or partner details.

The court heard Conder lost her job in December as a result of her behaviour.

Her solicitor, Colleen Wainwright, said Conder was suffering from depression at the time, having recently moved to Townsville from Melbourne.

Conder did the searches out of `stupidity and idle curiosity', Ms Wainwright said.

She said Conder did not disclose the information to anyone and told officers she had nothing to gain from the activities.

"She is extremely embarrassed," Ms Wainwright said.

Mr Guilfoyle said all of the celebrities involved had been notified about the confidentiality breaches.

"The celebrities are concerned about the access of their records," he said.

He said some of them had since changed their tax file numbers.

While he acknowledged Conder did not seek the information for any `nefarious purpose' he said she did not do it for any good reason either.

"Celebrities such as this have a difficult enough time as it is maintaining their privacy," he said.

After lengthy legal debate Magistrate Laurie Verra ruled not to record a conviction against Conder.

He said she was normally of good character and had already lost her job as a consequence of her behaviour.

IDOL CURIOSITY The stars who had their privacy breached

Blair McDonough (Neighbours)

James Matheson (Australian Idol)

Ian Dickson (My Restaurant Rules)

Collette Dinnigan (fashion designer)

Guy Sebastian (Australian Idol)

Matthew Newton (actor)

Scott Cam (Backyard Blitz)

Ricki-Lee Coulter (Australian Idol)

Hayley Jensen (Australian Idol)

Eddie McGuire (television personality)

Courtney Murphy (Australian Idol)

Toni Pearen (Australia's Funniest Home Video host)

Gretel Killeen (Big Brother host)

Bec Cartwright (former Home and Away star)

Kym Valentine (former Neighbours star)

Belinda Emmett (married to Rove McManus and former Home and Away star)

Tamyn Sursok (singer and former Home and Away star)

Richard Wilkins (Today entertainment reporter)

John Foreman (Australian Idol musical director)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh Dear, LOL. I know it is a breach of privacy etc, but someties I think that if I was in a position like that it would be hard not to let curiosity get the better of you.

I am glad she only got a good behaviour bond though. It might have been a silly thing to do, but it is obvious she meant no harm.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.