An Illawarra criminal who racked up almost $800 worth of payments on a stolen fuel card while commuting between Nowra and Wollongong has never been legally allowed to drive, a court has heard.

RMS records reveal Jason Fornaciari has never held a driver’s licence in NSW, however that didn’t stop him from driving between his home in Nowra and commitments in Wollongong multiple times in late March and early April.

Fornaciari was not charged at the time and subsequently released on bail.

A subsequent police investigation revealed the fuel card was linked to a 36-seater diesel school bus owned by Nowra Anglican College.

It was not revealed in court how the card came to be in Fornaciari’s possession (he is not accused of stealing it), however he was first captured on CCTV using it on on March 21 at a Shellharbour service station, where he was seen filling up as Mitsubishi Outlander with $115.21 worth of petrol.

Fornaciari used the card to pay for the fuel before driving off.

On both the latter dates, Fornaciari used the card to fill up a second vehicle as well as the Outlander, in separate transactions.

The court heard he racked up a total bill of $768.16 on the card.

Fornaciari was re-arrested on April 11 and remanded in custody.

He pleaded guilty to dishonesty and driving offences when he fronted court, with his lawyer saying Fornaciari had been told by a family member he could use the card.

“He unreasonably understood he had a claim of right to use the fuel card,” defence lawyer Tim Daines said.

“He doesn’t recall what name was written on it.”

Mr Daines said Fornaciari was travelling from Nowra daily to attend a drug treatment course in Wollongong and had an interview lined up for a live-in rehab program on the Central Coast.

Magistrate Chris McRobert sentenced Fornaciari to a community correction order and disqualified him from obtaining a licence for another 12 months.

The Mercury understands Fornaciari has lodged an appeal against the sentence.

Extracted in full from: