Accountant accused of $863K Heron Island Resort fraud
AN ACCOUNTANT accused of defrauding Heron Island Resort of more than $863,000 has been refused bail in Gladstone Magistrates Court.
Jamieson Tatel Yu, 34, appeared yesterday by video link from Capricornia Correctional Centre, sitting silently as his lawyer addressed the court on his behalf.
The court was told the fraud allegedly took place between April and July this year, starting soon after Mr Yu began working at the resort.
Police allege Mr Yu oversaw more than 33 fraudulent transactions over that period, stealing at least $863,420.26, according to the latest figures from an audit still taking place on Monday evening.
While Mr Yu could not directly approve the transfer of funds, police allege he simply substituted his own bank details for those of the resort's suppliers.
When Heron Island Resort manager Anthony Barradale became aware suppliers had not been paid and confronted Mr Yu late last month, police allege Mr Yu broke down and admitted to stealing the money.
Police said he told Mr Barradale he had stolen between $350,000 and $400,000, but when given the opportunity to pay the money back, he transferred just under $250,000.
The court heard Mr Yu's bank accounts were temporarily frozen at a Supreme Court hearing earlier this week, and one of those accounts still contained about $420,000.
Opposing bail, police prosecutor Senior Constable Balan Selvadurai said Mr Yu was a flight risk and tendered photos of what he said was Mr Yu's calendar, showing the defendant had booked flights out of Gladstone as well as flights from Brisbane to Perth.
Sen Const Selvadurai said when Mr Yu was confronted by Mr Barradale he told his former employer he did not intend to stay in Gladstone, and had booked himself in for a single night at the Reef Hotel.
"There are no (bail) conditions that could ameliorate the risk that the defendant would leave this jurisdiction," Sen Const Selvadurai said.
"His passport has been seized but nothing is stopping him from flying to Perth or jumping on a bus tomorrow."
Defence lawyer Tom Polley listed a range of conditions that Magistrate Dennis Kinsella could impose on his client in order to grant bail, including a more permanent asset freeze, a $10,000 surety from his family, and reporting to police up to five times a week.
He noted Mr Yu had lived in Australia since 2012 and had no criminal history.
But based on the strength of the case and the likelihood Mr Yu would face a lengthy period in custody if convicted, Mr Kinsella determined Mr Yu posed an unacceptable flight risk and refused bail.
Mr Yu is due to reappear in court for a mention on September 27. The Supreme Court hearing will continue tomorrow.