Toowoomba Courthouse
Toowoomba Courthouse Bev Lacey

Employee ripped off Toowoomba business for thousands: Court

A MAN who ripped off his Toowoomba employer to the tune of thousands of dollars has narrowly avoided actual jail time but has been left with a hefty compensation bill.

Francis Damian McHugh had been employed by the family-owned civil construction company for 12 years until his termination in 2016 and had risen to the position of fleet manager, running the company's fleet of vehicles in Toowoomba, the city's District Court heard.

Part of his duties was to have vehicles fitted with accessories for particular jobs and he had arranged for a Toowoomba parts company to provide the vehicle upgrades.

However, on a number of occasions the now 41-year-old had arranged for works to be done and invoices supplied but he had either pocketed cash or goods from the other company, Crown prosecutor Paul Bannister told the court.

Each of the invoices came under $2000 because under the company's rules had the works cost $2000 or more McHugh would have had to seek authorisation from another staffer.

As a result his employer company had been out of pocket to almost $30,000, Mr Bannister said.

McHugh pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud as a employee over the periods from July 1 to November 30, 2014, and May 1 to July 13, 2015.

Mr Bannister said a co-accused from the other company which provided the fittings had been sentenced to six months jail, fully suspended for 18 months, and ordered to pay $9200 compensation for his role in the operation.

Noting McHugh to be the primary offender, Judge Dennis Lynch QC sentenced him to 12 months in jail but ordered the term be suspended in full to hang over his head for three years.

McHugh was ordered to pay total compensation of $19,600.
 


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