Postshop worker stole $49k

DEBORAH MORRIS
Last updated 14:06 13/08/2014

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A New Zealand Post employee who took $49,000 from the sole charge Postshop he ran in Parliament House has been given home detention and ordered to pay back $43,000.

Timothy Grant Russell, 45, of Waikanae, had pleaded guilty to making false accounting entries and stealing the money.

Wellington District Court judge Denys Barry said the man had a vague intention of paying back the money but it was justification to himself for his offending.

He said Russell was a trusted employee which was reflected in his position as a sole charge operator. Employees working at Parliament House have to undergo security checks.

Russell began working for NZ Post in 1986.  He had begun by taking small amounts in 2010 that increased over time as his offending went undetected.

It was not found out until another employee came to check the cash reserves on hand at the shop in May this year.  It was found that $48,909 was missing and that Russell had falsified entries to make it look like the balances were accurate.

Russell admitted it and said he would pay it back if NZ Post did not go to the police. NZ Post refused and he was charged.

Judge Barry sentenced him to eight months home detention, 150 hours community service and ordered to pay back some of the money at $50 a week.

The judge refused him name suppression to avoid hardship to his autistic son who he was the main caregiver for.

The man's lawyer Phil Mitchell said the offending had come late in his client's life and he was a low risk of reoffending.

Mitchell said Russell had not thought he had taken as much as was discovered missing but was willing to pay back what he could.

He said Russell had been on a modest income for decades and the temptation was simply too much for him.

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