Ex mayor's daughter goes to incredible lengths to dodge debt
THE daughter of a former Lismore mayor who went to extraordinary lengths to avoid paying a $5720 bill - including crafting false receipts and concocting an elaborate story implicating a former employee - has narrowly escaped jail for her deception.
Belinda Catherine Nott, daughter of former Lismore mayor Jeff Champion, was yesterday handed a 15 month suspended jail sentence over her determined efforts to avoid paying a bill from a Lismore business for advertising services.
During the course of her ongoing deception, Nott, now 39, made two fraudulent bank deposit receipts to "prove" she had paid Sidewinder Advertising the sum of $5720.
The advertising was commissioned in early 2015 for two accommodation businesses which Nott managed, the Ballina Manor Hotel, and Wilsons College student accommodation in Lismore.
After failing to settle the bill for more than a year - despite multiple reminders via mail and email - in June last year Nott promised owner Brett Watson she would deposit the money into his account on June 9, but he received nothing.
When Mr Watson contacted Nott four days later she said she had paid two amounts of $2,860 at the Commonwealth Bank in Lismore on June 9.
After Mr Watson requested the receipts, Ms Nott emailed him copies on June 17. He complained to the bank - but records indicated there were no deposits at Lismore to his account on June 9.
Nott subsequently told police she had sent a former female employee to deposit the $5,720.
The former employee, who had since returned to her home country of Canada, appeared via video link in a hearing in Lismore Local Court last month, and said she had never done any banking for Nott.
Nott was formally charged on November 5 last year.
She failed to front court on eight occasions during the drawn out court proceedings.
After she failed to appear in February this year a warrant was issued for her arrest and she was given bail conditions.
Mr Watson said the debt was finally paid on Thursday morning this week - the day of Nott's sentencing in Lismore Local Court.
"We can now say she has paid in full - three years late," Mr Watson said.
"I cannot believe that I am the only person to have this kind of experience with Belinda Nott," Mr Watson added.
"It's been infuriating to see the lengths she will go to avoid extinguishing a debt."