Kate Horan's autistic son Nathaniel, 18, was fleeced of his hard-earned cash he was saving to buy a car by a rogue driving instructor.
Kate Horan's autistic son Nathaniel, 18, was fleeced of his hard-earned cash he was saving to buy a car by a rogue driving instructor.

Driving instructor takes cash from autistic boy

A ROGUE driving instructor who convinced an autistic ­student to hand over almost $2000 had been hired as part of a goodwill gesture by an ­organisation looking to help out those in need.

Kate Horan said her autistic son Nathaniel, who was 17 at the time, had been referred by the ­National Disability Insurance Scheme to driving lessons ­earlier this year.

She said one of his instructors, Obery Sambo, had spun her son a "sob story" about owing money and needing cash or he would lose his ­livelihood.

Mrs Horan said Mr Sambo drove Nathaniel to an ATM, where her son withdrew his daily limit of $1000, then turned up the next morning to give Nathaniel a "make-up" lesson, and drove him to the bank to withdraw a further $700.

Mrs Horan only found out when she caught a glimpse of her son's bank balance.

"He (Nathaniel) was devastated," Mrs Horan said. "It shook him … He's a generous fellow but he's very vulnerable. It was just a disgusting act."

She said her family had reservations about Mr Sambo prior to the bank withdrawals, as he'd begun to talk about religion at length with Nathaniel.

She said Mr Sambo had turned up to the family home two days after she'd found out about the withdrawals and her husband Greg had told him to never contact Nathaniel again.

Graduate School of Motoring director Heath Ward said the organisation had hired Mr Sambo, who had been unemployed for some time, after he was put forward as a good candidate by job networks.

Mr Ward said they were hoping to boost multiculturalism and help someone in need when they put Mr Sambo on.

He said they had paid for his qualifications and training to begin his work as a driving instructor.

"We've gone out of our way to try and help somebody and give them a go," Mr Ward said.

"He's certainly done me no favours."

Mr Ward said as soon as they heard about the incident they stood down Mr Sambo and launched an investigation.

He said they repaid the family straight away and, ­following an investigation, Mr Sambo was fired and 18 pages of notes were handed over to the Department of Transport and Main Roads.

He said there were civil actions ongoing at the moment, which he couldn't comment further on.

Mrs Horan said she was very happy with how the driving school dealt with the matter and Nathaniel was still getting lessons with Graduate School of Motoring.

"They were brilliant," she said.

Kirwan police advised that, despite Nathaniel being taken advantage of, they were unable to take criminal action as no threats had been made or fraudulent activity taken place.

Mrs Horan said she was disappointed there was no avenue for criminal proceedings.

Mr Sambo did not return the Bulletin's phone calls.