Australian Charity Deprived of AUD1.5 million

The money stolen by Sri Lankan on an Aussie work visa

In a case in which he faced charges for depriving a Queensland charity out of AUD$1.5 million, a Sri Lankan online gambler on an Aussie work visa, Dinesh Enoka Abeysuriya (29), has pleaded guilty.
According to the Brisbane Times, at the time the offences took place, Abeysuriya was working for the Blue Care aged care health charity as a finance clerk. Allegedly, from March 2009 to April 2010, he illegally transferred the money to his own accounts, under the veil of payments to Blue Care creditors.

Brisbane District Court was presented the evidence that the accused spent most of the cash on a sports gambling site Centrebet, which colleagues noticed he accessed at work. In addition, his activities were revealed when a bank clerk noted the large amounts of money flowing into his bank account, so when his crime was exposed, he fled back to Sri Lanka, but he later returned to Australia, and surrendered to the authorities, pleading guilty to two counts of aggravated fraud.

In regards to the number of his fraudulent transactions, Abeysuriya committed 26 of them until he was exposed. Of the total amount, around AUD600,000 was recovered, whereas the remaining sum was lost. However, since they are insured against fraud, Blue Care can recover the shortfall, and to prevent any such frauds being committed again, the organization assured the court that they had tightened up procedures within the finance team.

Abeysuriya faced another charge of fraud, committed against the Commonwealth Bank by overdrawing his credit card by AUD$223,409. It was specified that he used the card to wager through his Centrebet account, and that the amount wagered was AUD$1.88 million.

The prosecution requested a 10-year prison sentence, suspended after three years have been served, while Abeysuriya's attorney pleaded that his client had been diagnosed as a pathological gambler and although he had fled Australia, he had returned voluntarily, so he asked for a relieved sentence of five years suspended after two years have been served.

The court will adjourn to pass the sentence next week, and Judge Kerry O'Brien reserved his decision, saying it was unclear whether Abeysuriya would be deported upon his release from jail.

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