Payroll worker repays stolen funds

BELINDA FEEK
Last updated 05:00 18/08/2014

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A long-term Hamilton employee of a nationwide packaging company stole more than $30,000 over six years.

Not only was Grant Douglas Mcleish charged interest on the stolen $38,119 but he also lost his employer's share of his superannuation worth a further $60,000.

Mcleish admitted two charges of false accounting and one charge of theft by a person in a special relationship in the Hamilton District Court on Wednesday.

Mcleish, 60, worked in the payroll section of Alto Packaging for 34 years.

But eight different times between November 10, 2004 and February 13, 2010, when an employee left, Mcleish would complete their final pay and put it into his own account instead of the company's. Those payments reached $24,956.

On nine other separate occasions, Mcleish processed his own annual leave. Instead of marking it as used he would not adjust the leave balance and received a financial benefit of more than $13,000 over a four-year period.

In total, Mcleish stole $38,119, but has paid that plus interest back which came to $61,000.

Crown prosecutor Jamie O'Sullivan said the offending was particularly bad as Mcleish was a trusted employee and the impact on the company had been beyond just the financial loss.

His actions were premeditated and involved a significant breach of trust, she said.

O'Sullivan urged Judge Peter Spiller to take into account deterrence and denunciation when sentencing but accepted home detention was an option as he had repaid the stolen money.

Mcleish's lawyer Sharon Green said the offending began because of the company's software system and its inability to stop payments. It was not the most sophisticated crime.

When questioned, Mcleish had admitted his actions, she said. An added penalty had been him losing his former employer's share of his superannuation due to a specific clause in his contract. However, he was able to retain his own contributions.

Green told the judge that her client had suffered wider repercussions including financial losses and the impact on his family.

She asked the judge to hand down a community work sentence.

The judge convicted Mcleish and sentenced him to seven months' home detention. belinda.feek@fairfaxmedia.co.nz

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- Waikato Times

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