Fraudster gets jail time

GRIFFITH'S Lesley Thompson was sentenced in Griffith District Court yesterday to three years, four months in a low security facility.

Judge John Williams handed down a non parole period of one year, eight months and ordered she pay back $750,000 to her former employer Hotondo Homes.

Judge Williams said the offences occurred over an extended period and Thompson had not sought treatment for a gambling addiction during that time.

He said the offences may have continued if the victim had not discovered the fraudulent transactions and the first transaction took place just nine days after she started working for Hotondo Homes.

Judge Williams said he did not think an intensive corrective order would act as enough of a deterrant, given the seriousness of the offfences. Thompson will be eligible for parole on February 17, 2016.

In court on Thursday, Thompson was visibly upset when the judge adjourned the hearing and denied bail.

"Oh no, no please," she said when the judge denied bail.

Thompson, 51, has been on bail after pleading guilty to two counts of dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception.

The Griffith District Court heard Thompson illegally transferred more than $1 million over a period of six years from an account held by her employer, Hotondo Homes, into her personal bank account.

Thompson's lawyer Chris Watson told the court she had been suffering from a gambling addiction and was extremely remorseful.

He told the court a doctor's report revealed Thompson was disgusted by what she did.

After being called to the witness stand by her lawyer Thompson confirmed she said that to the doctor.

"I didn't think I deserved to be alive for what I've done," she said.

Thompson confirmed the stolen money was used on pokie machines.

She alleged that growing up her father was physically abusive to her mother and when her mother had a win on the pokies, it made her dad happy.

Thompson alleged that her ex-husband was also physically abusive and she went on to replicate her mother's behaviour giving him money when she had a win on the pokies.

"I honestly don't know how I did it," she said.

When the possibility of a jail term was mentioned, she wept uncontrollably in the witness stand.

She said she was extremely remorseful for her actions.

"Oh god, I'm so sorry. If I could take it back I would. I will never forgive myself for what I've done not as long as I live."

Thompson said she had no idea how much money she had stolen.

"I cannot fathom the amounts. I am mortified."

Thompson was asked whether she would ever use a pokie machine again, she said "never".

"They are the most evil, wicked things ever invented. They ruin lives. I've ruined lives because of them. I hate them."

When Thompson was asked why she didn't seek help for her gambling addiction, she said she didn't know she had a problem.

The court heard Thompson had not repaid back any of the money she obtained fraudulently, but she said she had every intention of paying it back.

When asked if she would pay it back she said: "every cent for the rest of my life".

Judge Williams questioned Thompson and said she must have known what she was doing was wrong.

"I didn't have the skills to get help," she said.

Thompson was then asked to sit in the dock while her lawyer made his submissions.

He said his client had since sought help for her gambling addictions and acknowledged her rehabilitation would be ongoing.

Thompson sobbed and rocked back and forth in the dock, clearly distressed each time a jail sentence was mentioned.

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