A MINERS Rest woman who stole more than $425,000 from her employers over a three-year period could face a similar length of time behind bars.
Dianna Jane Orlowski, 36, yesterday pleaded guilty in the County Court at Ballarat to the deceitful thefts in which she created fake invoices that she paid into one of her own four bank accounts.
Between January 15, 2010, and January 21 this year, the mother of two duped her dual employers, Sovereign Concrete Products and Australian Road Barriers, of $425,558.
Her thefts were revealed when a co-worker queried a number of transactions that an accountant had highlighted in an email to the business.
The court heard Orlowski, who was employed as a part-time administrative assistant, used the stolen money to purchase a new car, new ski boat and trailer, to pay off a credit card and to fund a $2000-a-week gambling addiction.
Asked in a record of interview on February 1 this year if she gambled the money, Orlowski told police she played the pokies “a couple” of times a week, spending between $500 and $1000 each time.
Yet Crown prosecutor Deborah Mandie said “by and large” Orlowski used the stolen money to fund her lifestyle, disputing the defence case that she had a gambling addiction.
Ms Mandie asked Judge Roy Punshon to consider an immediate two-and-a-half year jail term with a non-parole period of 18-months.
A victim impact statement read by the Crown on behalf on Sovereign Concrete Products director Rick Driscoll said he and others had been left “gutted” by the severe breach of trust.
The statement said both businesses had to make redundancies shortly after the thefts and that the personal reward for the business owners had been cut short by the crime. Stephen Lindner, for Orlowski, said his client had no criminal history and in the lead up to the crimes had been suffering depression following a marriage breakdown in 2009.
He said Orlowski was deeply remorseful and ashamed of her actions, evidenced by her early guilty plea.
Mr Lindner asked Judge Punshon to consider a suspended prison term, adding that the care of her two young children should be considered.
“The law can’t be that people can avoid punishment because they have children,” Mr Punshon said.
Orlowski will be sentenced on Friday.