Father of dead teen charged with fraud

 

The father of a boy killed in a fatal crash earlier this year is set to appear in Townsville Magistrates Court on fraud charges today.

Eziekel Baira is appearing on a fraud charge related to a GoFundMe page set up to cover the costs of his son's funeral.

Eziekel Baira has been charged with fraud.
Eziekel Baira has been charged with fraud.

The fundraiser raised about $7300, with the money allegedly split between the mother and father.

Detective Senior Sergeant Dave Miles said police arrested the Baira last night after he returned to the Townsville region.

"Last night we culminated our investigation into the GoFundMe fraud investigation that resulted in (the arrest of) a 31-year-old man who is the father of the deceased boy of the traffic incident," Det Snr Sgt Miles said.

"He's been charged also now with one count of fraud in relation to his dealings with the money that was taken from the GoFundMe page."

It's alleged Baira took $3650 from the fundraiser and had spent around half of that sum.

"In this instance we have recovered about $1700 at this point in time with some other money that we're looking at that will be recovered and seized by police as part of our investigation," Det Snr Sgt Miles said.

"It appears that some of the cash has been used as a line of credit.

"Indications at this were that he had intentions of purchasing a headstone some time in the future. However the pattern in relation to the use of the money would suggest that's not actually the case.

Eziekel Baira has been charged with fraud.
Eziekel Baira has been charged with fraud.

"The pattern of spending is in relation to his own personal lifestyle choices. Food, clothing, entertainment, those sorts of things."

Police spoke to nearly 140 people, including the grandmother of the deceased boy, during their investigations.

Det Snr Sgt Miles said prosecution would be seeking restitution for the full amount from both parties so they could provide the money back to those who donated to the GoFundMe.

Just last week it was revealed mother Lesley-Lee Hill blew half of the GoFundMe money on pokies, cigarettes and clothing.

Police allege Hill was given $3600 from the boy's father, who was the organiser of the fundraiser page, three days after they buried their son on June 22.

Lesley-Lee Hill in custody taken to the Townsville Watch House. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Lesley-Lee Hill in custody taken to the Townsville Watch House. Picture: Alix Sweeney

Hill was escorted to the Townsville watch house by police after she was arrested.

Originally published as Father of dead teen charged with fraud


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