EXCLUSIVE: The extraordinary lengths baby-faced tradie took to convince his boss he had Covid so he could have the day off after an all-night bender – and the VERY simple way his story fell apart
A labourer sent a fake positive Covid test result to his boss – sparking a farcical series of events – because he was drunk and drugged up following a big weekend and couldn’t face work.
Jamie Pitman-Muir, 23, from Wollongong in NSW, had been drinking and taking Valium when he used a mobile app to change a test result text message to ‘positive’, according to court documents exclusively obtained by Daily Mail Australia.
Pitman-Muir sent the fake text to his company’s emergency contact, Paul Gallo, at 4.15am on August 2.
Pitman-Muir sent the fake Covid test result to an emergency contact at his company at 4.15am on August 2 so he didn’t have to work that Monday
Court documents showed the tradie (pictured) admitted using drugs and alcohol before faking a Covid test result
Pitman-Muir got his sickie, but he also forced 25 workmates into isolation and caused panic at a major shopping centre, court documents said.
While he was recovering from his hangover, concerned NSW Health contact tracers launched an investigation into his claims.
A worried Mr Gallo, the emergency contact for Civil Mechanical Engineering Contractors, alerted his company which contacted the health department over the young tradie’s text.
The department ordered a shut down and deep clean at CMEC’s site and lunch areas at Kotara Homemaker Centre in Newcastle, a police statement of facts said.
Authorities were worried about a major outbreak at the retail superstore – given the busy centre has dozens of big chains including Aldi, Bunnings, Harvey Norman, Freedom and Barbecues Galore.
But Pitman-Muir’s story fell apart when contact tracers found he had actually returned a negative test result.
Pitman-Muir’s (pictured) story quickly fell apart when questioned by NSW Health investigators
When Pitman-Muir eventually answered a call from NSW Health later the same day, he buckled, admitting he had lied about the positive test result, court documents said.
NSW Health passed the information on to detectives.
The busted labourer turned himself in to NSW Police on August 5, three days after he sent the text.
He was arrested and charged with conveying false information suggesting a person or property was in danger.
Pitman-Muir told police he was affected by alcohol and drugs but said he couldn’t remember much of the exchange with Mr Gallo.
He also admitted changing the details of a negative Covid test SMS.
‘The accused admitted to falsifying a previous negative text message result and with the use of a mobile application he was able to alter the message so it read positive to Covid,’ court documents said.
Authorities ordered the shut down a work site and lunch areas at Kotara Homemaker Centre (pictured) in Newcastle after Pitman-Muir sent a text to his boss falsely claiming he had Covid
Pitman-Muir confessed he ‘had consumed an amount of alcohol and Valium and was not fit to attend work on the Monday,’ the documents said.
‘He recalls speaking to his boss in the early hours of August 2 and informing him that he had tested positive for Covid.
‘The accused has a limited recollection of the conversation and text messages exchanged with him.’
Pitman-Muir pleaded guilty to the charge at Wollongong Local Court on Tuesday and received a 12 month community corrections order and a $1,500 fine.
He also received a criminal conviction.
‘The accused was only wanting to take a sick day from work and had no intention of causing an investigation into Covid tracing and put fear into work colleagues and force the closure of his work site,’ court documents said.
How labourer’s ‘Covid sickie’ claim fell apart
August 2, 4.15am – After drinking and taking drugs, Jamie Pitman-Muir decides he cannot face Monday and sends SMS to Paul Gallo, emergency contact for Civil Mechanical Engineering Contractors (CMEC), with faked positive Covid result.
August 2, morning – NSW Health alerted of possible Covid positive test result by CMEC worker.
August 2, morning – 25 CMEC workers at Kotara Homemaker Centre in Newcastle told to self-isolate as close contacts. Centre management alerted, fears over spread amongst hundreds of shoppers.
August 2, afternoon – Pitman-Muir’s story falls apart as NSW Health find he tested negative. They contact him and he admits he lied.
August 5 – A ‘remorseful’ Pitman-Muir surrenders himself to Wollongong Police.. He is arrested and charged with charged with conveying false information that a person was in danger.
September 14 – Appears in Wollongong court but asks for case to be adjourned while he hires a lawyer.
September 28 – He pleads guilty, convicted and sentenced to 12 months community corrections order.