Retail assistant stole thousands from long-term employer
A BIG W retail assistant who stole thousands of dollars from her employer of 12 years was warned if she had pocketed $300 more, she would be in jail.
The Kawana store's stock loss employee turned in Ashleigh May Postlethwaite, 28, to police after discovering she had made 16 fraudulent refund transactions to steal $4247 in gift cards.
Police prosecutor Stuart Lydford told the Maroochydore Magistrates Court Postlethwaite was caught in the act on CCTV between September to November last year.
Senior Constable Lydford told the court on each occasion, Postlethwaite logged in to a register and used her knowledge of the store's system to "return” items she had never bought.
She then used store credit from these returns to purchase gift cards she would spend on food, fuel and Christmas presents at associated stores.
The court heard Postlethwaite had a clean criminal history before she pleaded guilty yesterday to all offences.
Magistrate Rod Madsen said he found it "staggering” Postlethwaite would breach her employer's trust and considered her fraud as "relatively sophisticated”.
Legal Aid lawyer Codi Dalley said her client was motivated by need rather than greed after she was placed on light duties and significantly less hours at work while she rehabilitated from a fall.
Mr Madsen said if Postlethwaite's crimes had gone on any longer, the only sentence he would impose would be jail.
Ms Dalley submitted a recorded conviction would hinder Postlethwaite's chances of finding another job.
Mr Madsen said he would not be party to hiding information that prospective employers deserved to know.
He placed Postlethwaite on three years' probation, ordered she serve 240 hours community service and pay back the $4247 to Big W's parent company, Woolworths.