Weight loss drug to blame for bureaucrat’s job application deception, court told

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Weight loss drug to blame for bureaucrat’s job application deception, court told

Posted

March 25, 2019 15:06:24

A former top bureaucrat who lied to secure her lucrative SA Government position has claimed that a weight loss drug could have contributed to her fraudulent job application, a court has been told.

Key points:

  • Veronica Hilda Theriault claims Duromine was responsible for her offending in May 2017
  • She was charged after an ICAC investigation in September 2017
  • She pleaded guilty along with her brother

Veronica Hilda Theriault, 45, was chief information officer within the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) when she was charged with deception, dishonestly dealing with documents and abuse of public office in September 2017.

Theriault pleaded guilty to the charges last August and is awaiting sentencing.

The offending occurred between May and August 2017, and the deception charges related to Theriault’s job application with the department.

Today, the District Court was told prosecutors needed more time to probe her medical history after inconsistencies arose in a psychological report into Theriault’s mental state.

Prosecutor Lisa Duong told the court that one issue that needed further investigation was “timing”.

She said in February 2017, Theriault reportedly stopped using Duromine — a weight loss medication that suppresses hunger — and there was a causal effect which meant she returned to a “manic state”.

However, Ms Duong said Theriault got a prescription for Phentermine — another hunger suppressant drug — on July 20, 2017.

“That’s relevant because it goes to whether the causal effect can be accepted by the court,” she said.

“She’s misrepresenting the circumstances as to when she commenced using the medication, so there’s a basis for this court to find she’s made a false statement.

“In my submission, there’s a basis for the court to find that she has falsely stated that information, she has lied, and the court should reject that.”

Last November, the court was told Theriault was diagnosed with bipolar disorder close to a decade ago, and her defence barrister Stephen Apps argued that his client had stopped taking her medication before the offending.

“At all relevant times, she was suffering from her bipolar conditions … and she is still receiving treatment,” Mr Apps told the court.

“She was off with the pixies.”

Theriault stated fake job at Wotif on her LinkedIn profile

Mr Apps said “Blind Freddie” could have figured out his client’s deception and it was surprising that the DPC had not been able to sooner than it had.

A LinkedIn profile under Theriault’s name stated that she worked as “chief geek” for accommodation booking company Wotif in Melbourne from 2011 to August 2017.

The court heard she never worked for the company, and had used a photograph of US supermodel Kate Upton on her falsified profile.

Theriault’s arrest and ultimate sacking from the position was the result of an investigation by the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption (ICAC) Bruce Lander.

It also prompted Mr Lander to launch a maladministration investigation into the recruitment process that resulted in Theriault’s public sector employment.

Theriault’s brother Alan Hugh Melville Corkill, 41, was charged at the same time with deception and agreeing to accept a benefit, after he provided Theriault with a fake reference, and later accepted a job within the department organised by his sister.

He also pleaded guilty to the charges.

The position of chief information officer in the DPC was advertised in May 2017, with a salary of up to $244,000.

Theriault’s case will be back before court in May.

Topics:

fraud-and-corporate-crime,

crime,

law-crime-and-justice,

sa,

adelaide-5000

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