A Ballarat man who stole more than $11,000 from businesses through a painstaking receipt scam has been jailed.
Craig Pyke, 56, pleaded guilty to 91 charges of obtaining property by deception at the Ballarat Magistrates Court on Tuesday.
The court heard Pyke had repeatedly located discarded receipts, selected items to match the receipts in store and then asked for refunds for those items.
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Police prosecutor Senior Constable Steve Repac said Geelong Bank alerted police to suspect transactions in September 2018 when it was found refunds were being made into Pyke's account with no expenditure to match.
Senior Constable Repac told the court refunds were made on 56 occasions from Bunnings stores in Ballarat, Sunshine and Melton, totalling more than $9600.
There were also 29 occasions where refunds were made from Kmart totalling $1750 and a total of $534 refunded from Aldi on 10 occasions.
The offending occurred between December 2017 and April 2019.
There is no sentence other than imprisonment which is appropriate for your repeated dishonesty and deception.Magistrate Ron Saines
Pyke had told police during questioning he had no memory of the offences, had no explanation for the refunds into his account and denied the person on CCTV footage was him.
Defence lawyer Kristen Morrow provided a psychological report, doctors report and letter of support from Pyke's mother to the court for consideration in sentencing.
She said Pyke has struggled with a compulsive gambling addiction and mental health issues for more than 30 years, and suffered short term memory loss and confusion from a brain injury acquired after a heart attack in 2013.
Ms Morrow told the court Pyke was currently on the disability support pension and had 'significant' outstanding debts.
"We are aware it should be shown to community this (type of offending) should not happen, but a term of imprisonment would not address his concerns for himself," she said.
The court heard Pyke was previously sentenced to prison in 2016 for the same type of offending - 206 charges of obtaining property by deception for 'identical' conduct.
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Magistrate Ron Saines said there was a number of issues he must give consideration to in sentencing.
"I do reject if it has been said that imprisonment is not an appropriate sentence for you," Mr Saines said.
"There is no sentence other than imprisonment which is appropriate for your repeated dishonesty and deception."
Pyke was taken into custody at the Ballarat Magistrates Court on Tuesday.
He will appear by video link for sentencing before Mr Saines on November 28.
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