Update: Seven Years of Prison for Fraud Against Charity

Charity clerk spends AUD1.5 million on online gambling

This week a Brisbane court pronounced a sentence to a 29-year-old finance clerk for an Australian charity, Dinesh Enoka Abeysuriya, who fraudulently appropriated A$1.53 million, spending a part of it in online gambling casinos.

The Courier-Mail newspaper reported that the ruling of Judge Kerry O'Brien, who adjourned the case for sentencing after Abeysuriya pleaded guilty last week, involves seven years of prison for stealing from the Uniting Church's Blue Care organization. The shortfall found after the money found in his accounts was frozen, amounted to about AUD900,000.

There was another charge Abeysuriya was found guilty of, which includes his use of the Commonwealth Bank credit card with sports betting organisation Centrebet, where $1.88 million in bets was shown on his Commonwealth Bank cc account. The court heard that when the accused finally stopped gambling, his credit card was overdrawn a by $223,409.

According to Judge O'Brien, even though he was asked to rule a five year prison sentence, so as to provide Abeysuriya with a chance to get a partial suspension of his sentence, allowing him to have a definite date for deportation back to his native Sri Lanka, he could not take into account what other bodies, including the parole board or immigration authorities, might do in the future when imposing a sentence. And even though Abeysuriya returned to Australia under his own free will, the judge gave him seven years in prison, and set a parole eligibility date to November 22, 2012.

It was proved by the prosecution that there were three methods used by Abeysuriya to conduct the fraud - inflating invoices and paying the extra to himself, paying invoices twice to legitimate creditors and himself, and paying invoices to himself. His actions were discovered after a bank clerk reported uncharacteristically large amounts coming into his personal account.

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