Woman walks free over $1m card scam

A mother-of-four involved in a scam to fraudulently obtain credit cards with a value of up to $1 million has walked from court.

Lisa Catania, 41, of the Gold Coast, was sentenced to a wholly suspended two-year jail term today over the scheme, headed by her then husband David Catania, to use stolen identities to apply for credit cards between 2006-08.

Catania pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud.

The scheme involved stealing the identities of 141 people, making up their identification information and using addresses from vacant properties to apply for credit cards, the Victorian County Court heard on Monday.

The dozens of credit cards obtained offered a credit limit totalling $1 million, and they were used to withdraw cash and buy goods and a family holiday valued at about $860,000.

The court heard David Catania had participated in all facets of the scam by recruiting participants, setting up postal mailboxes and applying for credit cards.

A police raid on the family home uncovered large amounts of clothes, cash, computer games, gift vouchers, a motorcycle and documents linked to the fraud.

Judge Phillip Coish said the fraud was well organised and extensive.

"Your actions were very serious indeed," he said, in sentencing. "You were an active participant."

He accepted Catania's remorse over her role and accepted she was under pressure, although not duress, to take part.

He said she enjoyed the proceeds which flowed from the scam even though she played a less significant role than her former husband.

Judge Coish said David Catania, who was arrested in 2007, continued to coordinate fraudulent activity while in custody.

The judge said Catania, who is now separated from her husband, has a major depressive disorder and is living in public housing on a disability support pension.

David Catania was jailed for four years with a minimum three years earlier this month over his role.

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