The head of an electronics store has been sentenced for stealing almost $60,000 from his employer.
The agreed facts in Scott Kennedy’s recently released ACT Supreme Court judgement show he worked as the store manager of Gungahlin’s CeX, an international chain that sells second-hand electronics.
For a refund to be processed by a CeX employee, two personal identification numbers (PINs) have to be entered into an EFTPOS machine. Only the store manager has access to the first PIN and the second has to be entered by the recipient of the refund.
Between March and July 2018, Kennedy used his store’s EFTPOS machine to process refund transactions to his personal Commonwealth Bank account 217 times.
The refund transactions ranged from $50 to $600, and their total value was about $58,000.
“Multiple refund transactions were sometimes made on a single day,” Justice David Mossop said in his judgement on the case.
Justice Mossop said in July 2018, the director of CeX Australia was told by their accounts department the settlements were “off” and that a huge discrepancy had been identified between the money being declared at Gungahlin’s CeX store and the money that was banked.
A review of the bank statements found the store was processing an “inordinate amount of refunds”.
CeX Australia’s operations manager confronted Kennedy and asked him why he had done it.
“I’m sorry; I needed the money,” he said.
Kennedy was then told he was sacked.
Justice Mossop said the 31-year-old Queensland-born man’s crimes were a gross breach of the trust placed in him by his employer.
But he said his offending was “unsophisticated” as it involved transfers that could easily be traced back to him and were of such a number “that any clear-sighted consideration would have resulted in a realisation that it would be detected”.
“While the offending was unsophisticated, that does not render it benign,” he said.
“The amount stolen was very substantial. Rather than being comparatively short, the offending took place over four-and-a-half months.”
Justice Mossop said Kennedy had “made clear his remorse and regret” and had attempted to repay some money to CeX but had not received any cooperation allowing him to make a payment.
“He has an amount of $6001.18 in a separate bank account available for payment,” he said.
Justice Mossop said he also took into account “the unexplained and apparently unreasonable delay” by police in bringing the charges against Kennedy, as while the last of his crimes were committed in July 2018, he was not interviewed by police until that December, then did not appear in court until October 2020.
“I accept that during this period the offender was left in an uncertain state of suspense and this will have had an impact upon him, both by way of an immediate psychological impact and also by creating uncertainty for him in relation to his employment,” he said.
Kennedy pleaded guilty to theft and faced 10 years behind bars.
Justice Mossop sentenced him to 18 months’ jail from April 2021, to be suspended after five months for him to enter into a three-year good behaviour order.
He was also ordered to repay $58,000 to CeX Gungahlin.