Dinesh Enoka Abeysuriya, a 29-year-old finance clerk for an Australian charity who embezzled A$1.53 million and gambled part of it away in online gambling casinos was sentenced in a Brisbane court this week.
Judge Kerry O’Brien, who last week adjourned the case for sentencing after Abeysuriya pleaded guilty, handed down a sentence of seven years imprisonment for stealing from the Uniting Church’s Blue Care organisation, reports the Courier-Mail newspaper. After money found in his accounts was frozen, the value of the shortfall was about A$900,000.
Abeysuriya was also found guilty of a second charge based on his use of his Commonwealth Bank credit card with sports betting organisation Centrebet, where $1.88 million in bets was shown on his Commonwealth Bank cc account. When Abeysuriya finally stopped gambling his credit card was overdrawn a by $223,409, the court heard.
Judge O’Brien said he had been asked to impose a five year jail sentence so that Abeysuriya could have a partial suspension of his sentence, allowing him to have a definite date for deportation back to his native Sri Lanka. However, the judge said that he could not take into account what other bodies, the parole board or immigration authorities might do in the future when imposing a sentence.
Despite the mitigating factors, including Abeysuriya returning to Australia under his own free will, a sentence of seven years jail was indicated, the judge said, setting set a parole eligibility date at November 22, 2012.
The prosecution in the case adduced evidence that Abeysuriya used three methods to misappropriate the money – inflating invoices and paying the extra to himself, paying invoices twice to legitimate creditors and himself, and paying invoices to himself. He was audited when a bank employee flagged the uncharacteristically large amounts flowing into his personal account.