Caretaker steals over $6000 from business owners
A GLADSTONE caretaker who stole more than $6000 from business owners has been ordered to pay it all back and serve a suspended jail term.
Brian John Smith pleaded guilty in Gladstone Magistrates Court to eight counts of fraud and one count of enter dwelling and commit an indictable offence.
The 34-year-old was living with the victims, a husband and wife, at their New Auckland home.
The court heard the victims owned a business and Smith was living at their home as a "boarder”.
On September 25, 2017 before 4am Smith took several debit and Eftpos cards from the woman's purse, some of which were under the company's name.
Smith went to the ATM at the Kin Kora shopping centre and took out $6400 cash in four transactions.
He returned the cards to the woman's purse, the court heard.
Smith intended to use the cash for accommodation elsewhere, the court was told.
Defence lawyer Rio Ramos said her client was doing household duties for the couple, including household cleaning, errands and odd jobs.
She said her client was struggling financially and was "sick of not being able to gain enough”.
Ms Ramos said Smith was "deeply embarrassed”, even more so because the woman was sitting in the back of the courtroom.
"They used to trust him with money,” Ms Ramos said.
"He regrets what he has done and accepts he made a terrible mistake.
"He took the money to get back on his feet.”
The court heard Smith was now a caretaker at the Gladstone Village Motel.
Magistrate Dennis Kinsella said it was a "misuse of trust”. He noted Smith was trying to "set himself up” and said the amount he stole would have done the job "fairly well”.
He ordered Smith to pay the victims full compensation for the money stolen and sentenced to him serve four months' jail, wholly suspended for 12 months.