‘Driven by greed’: Telstra worker steals almost $70k in goods

Jeremy Ozols.

Jeremy Ozols.

A former Telstra salesman has pleaded guilty to stealing more than $65,000 worth of phones and accessories at a Ballarat store.

Jeremy Ozols, a father of four including one young child with autism, was working at Telstra’s Bridge Mall outlet when he started to hide phones underneath his clothing at the end of his shifts in June, 2016.

According to a police summary, Ozols, 36, falsified customer contracts to conceal his offending, making up names, email addresses and driver’s licences of fake people, pretending legitimate customers had bought the stolen phones.

On Tuesday, he represented himself in the Ballarat Magistrates’ Court and told Deputy Chief Magistrate Jelena Popovic he had run into financial troubles while studying to become a teacher.

“In a moment of desperation and stupidity I made a decision that snowballed ... it was basically driven by greed, I’ve taken the easy way out,” he said.

“I’ve quit studying to become a teacher because I don’t feel I would be the appropriate person to be in that role.”

Detectives arrested Ozols a year later in June, 2017, after he had stolen more than $65,000 worth of goods, including 43 phones.

In a moment of desperation and stupidity I made a decision that snowballed ... it was basically driven by greed, I’ve taken the easy way out

Jeremy Ozols

Police said as a result of the false customer contracts he also received more than $3200 in sales commissions from Telstra’s management in “the belief that the contracts he had generated were actually legitimate.”

Ozols told officers he had sold the phones and accessories online, including websites such as Mobile Monster and eBay.

In sentencing Ozols, Ms Popovic said his partner and young children would suffer more than him if a prison sentence was imposed.

Ozols was sentenced to a community corrections order for two years and must undertake 300 hours of community work.

On top of this, he was placed on a good behaviour bond for three years.

Ozols must make arrangements to repay a total of $69,144 to Telstra.