A magistrate has condemned the actions of a Ballarat man who pawned more than $25,000 worth of laptops, iPads and other technology from his employer and contributed to the demise of his business.
Alan Jones, 34, pleaded guilty to selling $25,300 worth of Eureka ICT's property for his own financial gain at the Ballarat Magistrates Court on Thursday.
Magistrate Pauline Spencer sentenced Jones to a 12-month community corrections order with a requirement he complete 250 hours of community work and pay $15,000 restitution to Eureka ICT.
She referenced the impact on the victim, his family and his business in her sentencing remarks.
"You need to give back to the community for what you have taken," Ms Spencer said.
"The message I need to send to you and the community is if you are in a position of trust, you cannot breach that trust."
You have pleaded guilty and are sorry for what you have done, although sorry is pretty empty when it can't get his business back.Magistrate Pauline Spencer
Police prosecutor Leading Senior Constable Simon Pearce told the court Jones was provided with various items by the company, including an Apple Watch, for business and personal use when he was employed by Eureka ICT in January 2018.
He said when the company conducted an audit of items in November 2018, Jones did not present the Apple Watch when asked.
The victim made a lost property to report to police on November 26, 2018, and the watch was located at Cash Converters.
"The accused told the victim he had sold the watch by mistake," Leading Senior Constable Pearce said.
Eureka ICT terminated Jones' employment, and further audits showed one Apple Watch, nine iMac computers, two Macbook Airs, two Macbook Pros, one Airport Hub, one iPad with Apple Pencil and a HP laptop to the value of $25,300 had also been sold at Cash Converters in Ballarat and Sunshine between April and October 2018.
Police said when Jones was arrested on December 7, 2018, he admitted he did not have permission to sell the items, and referenced financial strain, depression, anxiety and stress as some of the reasons for the theft.
A victim impact statement from the director of Eureka ICT, who was present in court, was presented to the magistrate.
"I can see this has had a significant impact on you and your family and will continue to do so for some time given stress levels and the financial repercussions on your family," Ms Spencer said.
Defence lawyer Manny Brennan told the court Jones' offending was unsophisticated, not particularly profitable and almost had a flavour of 'self-sabotage' - the amount he took home from the sales was just over $3500.
"It was obviously a ticking time bomb which shows Jones at that time was not thinking straight," Mr Brennan said.
"He describes himself as having depression and anxiety with the financial stresses of wanting to provide for his family that have been bubbling away during the offending."
It was obviously a ticking time bomb which shows Jones at that time was not thinking straight.Manny Brennan, defence lawyer
Mr Brennan said while Jones had a solid work history with two years at IBM and nine years at JB HiFi before starting with Eureka ICT, he has not been able to find employment since the offending and is now self-employed.
He also told the court of Jones' good character shown, through references from former colleagues at JB HiFi, and his feelings of remorse.
In her sentencing remarks, Ms Spencer said Jones' actions have had a big impact because they were a serious breach of trust.
"You were brought into a family business. He brought you into his inner circle and you really breached that trust," she said.
"The loss of items have had a big impact on his business, he has had to merge and restructure - it was the straw the broke the camel's back.
"It is a small town and he has been shunned by a lot of people who have seen you as the victim of this. He and his family feels shunned.
"This has also had an impact on you. It will have an impact on your ability to earn an income and will be on your record forever.
"You have pleaded guilty and are sorry for what you have done, although sorry is pretty empty when it can't get his business back."
Jones was convicted of three charges including obtaining property by deception.
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