Sun, 24 Jan 2021

PERTH, Western Australia - A 28-year-old man was scheduled to appear in Perth Magistrate's Court on Friday over allegations he stole his girlfriend's bank savings days after she unexpectedly died last year.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) say the man, from the Perth suburb of Woodbridge, accessed the 32-year-old girlfriend's bank accounts through her mobile phone, transferred funds between her accounts and then used her card on three occasions to withdraw a total of $2,400 from automatic teller machines.

Police allege the man did not have permission to access the woman's mobile phone or bank accounts after her death in July 2019. The woman's death was not suspicious.

The woman's relatives became concerned about her financial affairs after the man had allegedly attempted to get a copy of her death certificate. It is alleged he was planning to finalise a claim for almost $400,000 in superannuation savings and life insurance benefits.

In early July 2020, the AFP began an investigation into a claim the woman's superannuation account had been accessed after her death.

Investigators executed a search warrant at the man's Woodbridge home last month and charged him over the alleged theft of the woman's bank savings.

Zt this point he is charged on one count of using a telecommunication network with intention to commit a serious offence, for which the potential maximum penalty is seven years' imprisonment.

An investigation into the allegations relating to the superannuation account is ongoing, with police continuing to examine seized electronic devices and other financial records.

AFP Federal Agent Stuart McDonald said it had been extremely difficult for the young woman's family to focus on her financial affairs at a time when they were grieving her unexpected loss.

"The AFP will do what we can to protect the nest eggs of hard-working Australians by investigating, disrupting and prosecuting anyone who tries to defraud Commonwealth systems," Federal Agent McDonald said Friday.

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