Tough times for businesses after gambling addict takes $400k
A SUNSHINE COAST woman who siphoned nearly $400,000 from two businesses to feed her gambling addiction has been sentenced to six years' jail.
Catherine Maree Peters, 52, has not paid back a cent of the money she stole from the small businesses between 2014 and 2017.
Peters appeared in Brisbane District Court on Wednesday where she pleaded guilty to stealing and fraud charges and the details of her "gross breach of trust" were laid bare.
Crown prosecutor Christa Nicola told the court that Peters was working in accounts for Deagon IGA in 2014 when she stole $359,000 over nine months by pocketing sums of cash "daily".
She left the business after being confronted over the missing money and took a job as payroll manager of a steel construction business at Redland Bay, the court heard.
Peters then used three false employee names without tax file numbers to pay herself $39,000 of fake wages - all while she was aware that police were investigating her theft from the supermarket.
Outside court, Peters's former employers spoke about how the ordeal had affected them emotionally and financially.
"It's taken it's toll on our marriage, on our company, to have to rebuild it basically from scratch," one of the directors of the construction company said.
"We're still trying to get back on our feet, we will get back on our feet."
Defence barrister Peter Richards told the court that Peters had a serious gambling problem but had taken steps to address her addiction, attending group therapy sessions on the Sunshine Coast.
"At least she has recognised and taken some action to cope with the addiction that she had," Mr Richards said.
"A lot of people that come before your honour would have done nothing."
Judge Tony Moynihan took on board her addiction and that Peters had expressed some remorse.
"It is clear that your gambling addiction motivated your course of offending," Judge Moynihan said.
He said her actions had caused "significant and devastating consequences" to the small businesses.
Peters was sentenced to six years' jail but will be eligible for parole on November 4, 2021.
After the verdict, one of her former employers said they felt justice had been done.
"We just wanted justice done today and we got it."- NewsRegional