“She’s not a drug addict, she’s not an alcoholic, she’s not a friend and family basher,” he said. “She just made a bad decision and will pay a terrible, terrible price for it.”
Judge Anthony Payne admitted it was a “tragedy for the daughter”. He asked if there had been any expression of remorse or repentance.
“Let’s assume I approve of some finding of false allegiance to her brother,” he said. “It seems to be still there.”
Anderson said it was a one-off and his client “will never appear in court again for anything”.
Referring to the hierarchy of the fraud scheme, Crown prosecutor Paul McGuire, SC said Lauren Cranston was “not at the bottom, but close to the bottom”.
He has previously described the plot as “a bit like a train”, with people leaving and people joining, playing different roles, and saying she was “like a ticket inspector” or a “coal shoveler”.
McGuire contends that Cranston was knowingly involved as early as April and May 2014, when she was in her early 20s, and her involvement peaked in 2016.
“hour [she] Participate in exercising her autonomy in decision-making,” he said.
In December 2016, in one piece of evidence included in the 360-degree recording, Lauren Cranston called her brother and Menon to say the account had been frozen by the tax office. McGuire said she knew “no tax was paid”.
On another occasion that month, Cranston said he was somewhat grateful “not to go astray.”
In a February 2017 recording, she lied at Menon’s direction and blamed it all on Peter Lacombe, an accomplice who had fled overseas and committed suicide the previous year.
Regarding the recording, the judge said Lauren Cranston had at one stage tried to get her brother to “focus on reality … as he seemed to be focused on Porsches and cars” and building a property in Vacy in the Hunter area.
Huge tax liabilities are held by secondary companies with dummy directors to make Plutus appear “squeaky clean”. The companies were liquidated and new companies created to avoid scrutiny by the tax office.
Prosecutors said Lauren Cranston deliberately took advantage of the flimsy straw directors and “repeatedly called them drug addicts”, showing they realized they had been “cobbled together by others”.
He said the defense conceded full-time guardianship was “the only appropriate punishment”.
The judge said he understood Cranston’s lawyers had acknowledged she would face “years in prison.” He will sentence Cranston on Monday.
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