Qld Health executive forged degree, admits to fraud

Former Queensland Health South West Hospital and Health Service chief financial officer Veronia Chung.
Former Queensland Health South West Hospital and Health Service chief financial officer Veronia Chung.

POLICE Prosecutor Sergeant Shannon Bryce wasn't mincing words when he described the actions of former South West Hospital and Health Service chief financial officer Veronica Anne Chung as a "premeditated, calculated and dishonest abuse of a position of trust".

"It can only be considered an abuse of power, and an aggravating factor," he said in his submissions.

Chung pleaded guilty to a variety of fraud offences - some of which include dishonestly obtaining benefits or advantages, uttering forged documents and compounding indictable offences - at Roma Magistrates Court yesterday.

In October 2014, Chung made fraudulent claims she held a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in accounting from the University of Queensland.

Her conduct was exposed when she attempted to purchase an iPad in October 2015, using a co-worker's signature on the tax invoice receipt.

An error in the banking details saw the receipt returned to both Chung and the co-worker, which prompted an internal investigation.

Chung also attempted to hamper the efforts of her management to obtain CCTV footage from the computer store by sending down a co-worker to obtain the footage.

When questioned by police, she claimed she was never at the store and instead in a meeting, but later admitted to the offence.

Further investigations found that Chung had never obtained her bachelor's degree, and had only obtained a Year 10 graduate certificate, Justice of the Peace qualification and completion of several accounting diploma subjects at TAFE.

The bachelor certificate was found to contain spelling mistakes, incorrect signatures and inconsistent information from the university.

In his submissions, solicitor Brendan Ryan said despite the charges, his client was well-regarded in her role by chief executive officer Glynis Schultz, detailed in an email read out to the court.

"My client fulfilled the role well," he said.

Magistrate Hasted said the matter would benefit from a pre-sentence report before being finalised. Chung will return to court in May for sentencing.



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