DPP v Van der Heyden [2016] VCC 1747

Sentence summary: Deception

The offender was a construction coordinator at a steel installation and construction business. Her duties included authorising the payment of invoices issued to her employer by suppliers. Over two years and five months, she submitted 19 falsified invoices from a supplier to her employer (the victim) and authorised payment of them. As a result, a total of $299,000 was deposited into the offender’s own bank account. Two further false invoices totalling $18,000 were not paid when the offending was discovered.

The offender pleaded guilty to three charges of obtaining a financial advantage by deception and one charge of attempting to obtain a financial advantage by deception.

The judge found the offender significantly breached the trust of her employer. Her offending was sustained and came to light by chance. While the offender made full admissions to police and claimed to have used the money to provide financial support to her husband, the judge found the offending was motivated by a desire to fund, in part, a lifestyle that she believed she was entitled to. Accordingly, her moral culpability was significant.

Her guilty plea was evidence of remorse; however, it was to be considered in the context of seeking to attribute part of the responsibility for her criminal conduct to others. The offender had good prospects for rehabilitation although a degree of caution was required as the judge did not believe that she understood the seriousness of her crimes.

The judge said a term of imprisonment was necessary to deter the offender and others from offending in this manner. It was also necessary to punish the offender, who had made no restitution to her employer, whose losses were borne by its insurer.

The offender was sentenced to two years and seven months imprisonment with a non-parole period of 12 months.

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Page last updated: 26 August 2018