Andrea Jenelle Johnston has been ordered to pay her daughter $1000 after her draining a trust fund account of $93,000.
Andrea Jenelle Johnston has been ordered to pay her daughter $1000 after her draining a trust fund account of $93,000.

Mum gambles $93k trust left by daughter’s late dad

A mum who gambled away her daughter's $93,000 trust fund left by her late father has avoided jail after failing to repay the money.

Andrea Jenelle Johnston, 45, was on Monday ordered to pay $1000 a month to her estranged 23-year-old daughter who lost her dad's legacy.

She pleaded guilty to one count of stealing property and was sentenced in June 2018 to three years in jail with immediate parole.

Maroochydore District Court on Monday heard Johnston still owed $71,969 despite an order made in 2018 that she repay her daughter in full within two years.

The court heard Johnston could be ordered to serve six months in jail for failing to comply with the restitution order.

Crown prosecutor Stipe Drinovac said he had spoken with Johnston's daughter who was displeased with how the first $20,000 of restitution had been paid to her.

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"In terms of it being sporadic and ad hoc payments, there was really no structure to when the compensation was paid," Mr Drinovac said.

The daughter's father had died in 2009 and the trust fund resulted from his superannuation.

The court heard Johnston gambled the funds away over a period of four years, before her daughter turned 18.

Legal Aid lawyer Kylie Anderson argued cause could be shown as to why Johnston had not complied with the restitution order and why she shouldn't serve jail time.

She said Judge Richard Jones could instead impose a payment plan to which the daughter was agreeable.

"Because, of course, if she's made to serve the default term there is no payment forthcoming then and the complainant does not receive any of the money," Ms Anderson said.

Ms Anderson said Johnston had not been in a position to make regular payments.

She said Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency had learned of Johnston's only conviction and placed a hold on her ability to continue work as a registered nurse.

A six-month investigation resulted in a decision that Johnston could keep her registration, but the mother-of-two struggled to find employment.

The court heard Johnston suffered gambling disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, major depressive disorder and anxiety.

Judge Jones read a letter from Johnston which spoke of the deep shame she felt for her actions.

"You expressed a keen desire to beat your gambling addictions and to repay your daughter what is rightfully hers and hopefully put your relationship with her back in some sort of functional condition," he said.

Judge Jones considered Johnston had another child to care for and decided a payment plan was the appropriate order rather than default jail time.

"I must say that I consider what you have done to your daughter to be particularly egregious," he said.

He ordered Johnston pay her first $1000 instalment to her daughter on April 1.

The court heard Johnston was also granted early access to her superannuation and could pay a further lump sum of about $8000 to her daughter by May.



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