A Darwin manager of electronics chain The Good Guys has been sentenced to one–year house arrest at his mother’s residence after he was caught stealing more than $55,000 from his place of employment.
During a six-month period across 2018 and 2019, Rodney Easy, 45, falsified a number of transactions and siphoned refunds into his bank account for goods which had not been returned.
Supreme Court Judge Jenny Blokland said in pleading guilty in the NT Supreme Court on Friday, Easy agreed he had access to cash and the computer systems, and used his unique identification number to manipulate the computer system to authorise and siphon fraudulent refunds into his ANZ bank account.
The court heard that on each occasion, Easy identified legitimate sales transaction to a third-party customer and processed a refund for all or part of the transaction into his bank.
The legitimate purchaser had not requested a refund, nor were any goods returned to The Good Guys.
To cover his tracks, Easy inputted into the system fictitious reasons for processing the refunds until he was caught red handed and suspended with pay from work on May 2, 2019.
Easy was sacked on May 6, after he met with his employer, and admitted that after the first incident he became entangled in a spiral of crime he found impossible to leave.
The court heard some repayments were made to The Good Guys in 2019, while the majority had been spent on a gambling addiction.
Easy’s lawyers confirmed he had sold his Palmerston unit to repay The Good Guys, and that the 45-year-old had told his employer he had been saving for an operation.
Justice Blokland, in handing down her sentence, highlighted the case was one involving a significant breach of trust by an employee with managerial duties.
“This is a major sentencing consideration. It is a high-level breach of trust,” she said.
The judge told the court that spanning the six months, Easy’s gambling had increaseed, and mental state declined to the point he had little money to spend on food and did not leave his home other than for work.
“During this time, you experienced some difficulty and particularly stressful interactions with other staff… including, the court was told, an unsubstantiated allegation of harassment,” Judge Blokland said.
“I agree with the Crown’s submission that motivation to gamble or even gambling addiction is rarely significant, if at all, in terms of mitigation.
“However, there is a link with a disordered mental state, namely, autism and a major depressive disorder, where gambling was a decompensating strategy for the various social deficits.”
Judge Blokland highlighted “general deterrence” was the primary sentencing consideration, but it was also important to consider the best way to foster rehabilitation.
The court heard there was a “real risk of deterioration of [Easy’s] mental state” if he were to be sentenced to prison.
“If home detention was not available, I would sentence you to a term of imprisonment actually to be served,” Justice Blockland said.
“However, this is the very type of case suitable for home detention. Home detention is a strict from of detention and the consequence of breach is severe.”