A man who stole more than $11,000 from Ballarat businesses through an extensive receipt scam will remain in jail for another seven months.
Craig Pyke, 56, appealed his sentence at the County Court in Ballarat on Wednesday for 91 charges of obtaining property by deception.
He pleaded guilty to falsifying returns to Bunnings, Kmart and Aldi 91 times and was sentenced to 10 months jail with a two-year community corrections order at the Ballarat Magistrates' Court in November 2019.
It is clear he is a compulsive gambler and this is a means he obtains money to fulfil that addiction.Andrew Madden, defence lawyer
Defence lawyer Andrew Madden asked Judge Paul Lacava to consider a reduction in the term of imprisonment and a lengthening of the community corrections order.
"In my submission, 10 months is too much to address sentencing requirements," he said.
"It is clear he is a compulsive gambler and this is a means he obtains money to fulfil that addiction."
Mr Lacava said Pyke had been given opportunities on community based orders in the past and had re-offended.
"I understand the way you put this matter but it is 91 offences over a five month period in a background where your client has had appropriate dispositions in the past designed to assist him," he said.
"It explains but doesn't excuse the conduct. It has to come from him to change his ways."
Mr Madden said Pyke's rehabilitation was more likely to be successful in the community than in prison.
"It is of little benefit to the community if he is incarcerated. He needs professional intervention he won't get while he is in prison," he said.
Between December 2017 and April 2019 Pyke repeatedly located discarded receipts, selected items to match the receipts in the store and then asked for refunds for those items.
Refunds were made on 56 occasions from Bunnings stores in Ballarat, Sunshine and Melton, totalling more than $9600.
There were 29 occasions where refunds were made from Kmart totaling $1750 and a total of $534 refunded from Aldi on 10 occasions.
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.
Mr Lacava said this was 'prolific' and 'serious' offending over a long period of time.
"The offending is prolonged, planned and occurs when he has been given many opportunities in the past to change his ways," he said.
The appeal was refused and the sentence of 10 months imprisonment followed by a two-year community corrections order was upheld.
Pyke has already served 92 days in prison.
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