Top cop who conned innocent families out of thousands of dollars by renting out empty properties that didn’t belong to her becomes the first female police officer to be jailed in Victoria
- Rosa Catherine Rossi used her role to steal six empty homes and rent them out
- Was sentenced to four-and-a-half years behind bars over scam on Wednesday
- Former police sergeant, 58, is the first Victorian female cop to be jailed
A disgraced police officer who conned innocent victims to build a fraudulent investment empire has become the first Victorian female cop to be jailed.
Former police sergeant Rosa Catherine Rossi, 58, was sentenced to four-and-a-half years behind bars with a non-parole period of two years and four months in Victoria’s Country Court.
Wearing a headscarf and face mask in an unsuccessful attempt to disguise herself, Rossi was surrounded by a media scrum as she arrived for sentencing in Melbourne on Wednesday.
Rossi used her position of authority to steal six vacant homes between April 2016 to June 2017 by claiming ‘squatters’ rights’.
Rosa Catherine Rossi (pictured) arrives at County Court of Victoria on Wednesday, where she was sentenced to four-and-a-half years jail
She then changed the locks of the properties and rented the homes out to pocket the cash.
The elaborate scam began with three small Willaura homes in western Victoria worth $50,000 and $108,500 before it expanded to Melbourne properties worth up to $1million in Malvern, Chadstone and Brooklyn.
She used the police database to research at least one property owner’s details.
On one occasion she went to a suburban Melbourne council office in police uniform to demand an owner’s number.
Rosa Catherine Rossi (pictured as a police sergeant) used her position of authority to steal empty properties, change the locks and rent them out to tenants to make cash
She also created false documents as part of deception to change the addresses with water and power companies.
When a concerned neighbour called police after spotting Rossi at one Willaura home, she said she was an officer, had keys and was buying the property.
Investigators later discovered the home was owned by a man in South Africa, who was not selling the property.
Rossi eventually resigned from Victoria Police and pleaded guilty to nine charges including of obtaining property by deception, perjury, and unauthorised access to police information following an anti-corruption investigation.
She rose through the ranks of Victoria Police after joining in 1994 and spent 24 years in the force before her resignation in 2018.
The former police sergeant (pictured) will spend at least two years and four months in jail
One of her victims was a disability pensioner, who told the court he felt ‘like a fool’.
‘It didn’t seem right to me that a police officer would be up to anything fraudulent,’ the man told the court in a statement.
‘I was gutted. I felt like a fool.
‘I still don’t know why she did this.’
Anther victim Karen Lang had her home taken over by Rossi while she was living in Melbourne with her partner.
When she returned to the Willaura property, the home had been cleaned out and the locks had been changed.
Rosa Catherine Rossi was facing up to 10 years behind bars when she arrived for sentencing
‘I think she has no shame,’ Ms Lang told A Current Affair in June.
‘For a police officer to do something like that to a family, is pretty appalling. We’ve got special needs children too and she stole from special needs children.’
Another victim ‘couldn’t believe’ the lengths the former cop went to take over his almost $1-million property in Malvern.
‘That was probably the creepiest part of it,’ Kev told the program.
Rossi was facing up to 10 years behind bars.
Judge Martine Marich had stern words for Rossi during Wednesday’s sentencing.
‘Your conduct was brazen and callous to the rights of the true owners,’ the judge told the court.
One of six vacant homes targeted by Rossi to build her fraudulent investment empire