ICE ADDICTION TO BLAME FOR FRAUD – Wednesday August 7 2013

– A pregnant ice addict in charge of issuing permits at the airport stole almost $90,000 from her employers in a year.
Rebecca Dessman dudded Australia Pacific Airport Melbourne Corporation of $86,773 by manipulating the cash register process and pocketing the money from her fraudulent bookkeeping.
The security services coordinator was in charge of issuing various permits and asset cards for the airport.
The Broadmeadows Magistrates Court heard Dessman would make cash reversals on sales for hire car and airport driving permits and then pocket the money from the till.
She would also ensure the money in the register matched the day’s takings.
Every week Dessman would add the takings and then reconcile the till with the orders before sending the money to airport management.
She was the only person in charge of reconciling the tills and no one checked her bookkeeping.
Her employers became aware of the fraud after a whistleblower contacted management.
An investigation by airport management revealed only Dessman could have siphoned off $86,773 it found missing.
Airport police reported the matter to the Australian Federal Police, who issued charges last January.
Leading Senior Constable Daniel Taite told the Broadmeadows Magistrate Court Dessman would steal thousands each week.
“She was the last person reconciling the register at the end of the week and the end of the day, and no one checked her tally,” Constable Taite said.
Dessman yesterday pleaded guilty to one count of obtaining property by deception from January 2011 to the end of December 2011.
The court heard Dessman, who is 13 weeks pregnant with her second child, stole the money to help feed her drug addiction.
Defence barrister Wendy James said he client had acknowledged she was likely to face a jail term but asked that it be wholly suspended.
“I need to acknowledge the three aggravating factors – that Ms Dessman abused a position of trust to her employers, it was a long period of time and a significant amount of money.
“I first thought that it may have been gambling that was behind this offending but her problem was an addiction to methamphetamine – ice.
“Through unbelievably tough love from her family she has been able to turn her life around.”
Ms James said her client had pleaded guilty at the earliest possible time saving 13 witnesses from giving evidence at a hearing.
Magistrate John Doherty adjourned sentencing until next week for court reports to be prepared – James Dowling & David Hurley


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