November 4, 2016
A man who stole more than $500,000 from the ACT Public Trustee Office between 2010 and 2013 has been sentenced to four years in jail.
Joshua Leighton, 38, pleaded guilty earlier this year to 23 counts of theft relating to over 100 fraudulent financial transactions that occurred when he was a tradesman for Public Trustee clients.
Today the ACT Supreme Court heard how Leighton, with the help of an employee of the Public Trustee, would be transferred money for work he did not do.
Leighton would then withdraw the money deposited into his bank account as cash, giving 60 per cent to the other employee and keeping 40 per cent.
The court heard Leighton spent the money gambling, at brothels and for general day-to-day payments.
In total Leighton received $675,734 from the operation.
In his sentencing, Justice John Burns referred to statements given by members of Leighton's family that his actions were out of character and the result of personal and financial hardship.
"You did not attempt to minimise your actions," Justice Burns said.
"You stated that at the time you are going through financial hardship and the circumstances surrounding the offences 'got out of hand'."
But Justice Burns did condemn Leighton's actions as "planned and premeditated".
"Such conduct can only be described as truly disgraceful," he said.
Leighton has been sentenced to four years in jail and will be eligible for parole in June 2018.