A woman has told a court she was 'embarrassed' about her scheme to fraudulently obtain more than $4000 from her employer in Ballarat by overcharging customers and refunding to her own card.
Sarnen Naddaf, 26, pleaded guilty to obtaining property by deception from Ballarat Colonial Motor Inn where she worked as a receptionist in 2018.
Magistrate Michelle Hodgson said Naddaf abused her position of trust and significantly impacted the business and its customers.
Police prosecutor Leading Senior Constable Steve Kent said Naddaf incorrectly charged three customers thousands of dollars to their credit cards using details that were attached to their bookings.
The motor inn manager noticed the money was refunded to a different card than was charged and Naddaf was working at the times the transactions were made.
The kind of havoc this conduct wreaks on small businesses is really significant.Magistrate Michelle Hodgson
The court heard the owner and manager met to discuss the ongoing issues which spanned five months.
The manager viewed CCTV footage at the time of the refunds and saw Naddaf remove her card from her phone and insert it into the Eftpos machine.
Leading Senior Constable Kent said Naddaf also used a customer's card details to purchase pizza while she was staying overnight at the motel. Police obtained a bank warrant and found the cards the money was refunded to were in Naddaf's name.
The court heard Naddaf denied the offending when interviewed by police and said the manager had a gambling problem.
Leading Senior Constable Kent described the offending as 'systematic' and 'sophisticated'. "It was deliberate and it was a lot of money. The total was $4060," he said.
A Victoria Legal Aid defence lawyer said Naddaf was living in Melbourne with her young child, her grandmother and her sister who was pregnant and felt financial pressure and stress.
"She said it was an embarrassing stupid thing to do, she can't believe she did it and she knows they are very serious charges," she said.
The court heard Naddaf had previously been sentenced for the same charge two months before the offending began. The lawyer said this was a time when Naddaf's former partner would steal trailers and use her Gumtree account and phone to sell them on.
Ms Hodgson said Naddaf used her position as a trusted employee to her advantage and compromised the reputation of the business.
"Put clearly it was calculated dishonesty," she said.
"The kind of havoc this conduct wreaks on small businesses is really significant."
The prosecution made an application for restitution of the $4000.
Naddaf will be assessed for a community corrections order and will return to court on Wednesday.
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