Gambling addict steals almost $60,000 from boss who helped her buy mobile home
- From:The Courier-Mail
- June 28, 2012
A GAMBLING addict whose caring boss helped her buy a mobile home repaid him by stealing almost $60,000 of his company's money.
Mr Schnitzerling, the court was told, so valued Gasenzer's 20 years of loyal and dedicated service that he then allowed her, her female partner and their young child to move their mobile home onto his land and live there rent-free.
In return, Gasenzer swindled Mr Schnitzerling out of more than $57,000 by siphoning funds out of the heavy haulage business she had helped run over a three-and-a-half year period.
Gasenzer, 41, was today jailed for four years after pleading guilty to aggravated fraud as an employee between June 30, 2006, and December 4, 2009.
The court was told Gasenzer had not been brought to justice sooner because Mr Schnitzerling wanted to believe in his former employee who had made repeatedly claimed she took the money as a loan and would eventually pay him back.
Prosecutor Ken Spinaze said the German-born Gasenzer had worked her way up through the ranks of Mr Schnitzerling's small company - from working as a pilot driver and a mechanic before being appointed general manager.
He said Mr Schnitzerling trusted Gasenzer to the point she could "write her own cheques'' and pay herself wages.
The court was told Mr Schnitzerling cared so much about Gasenzer that he offered to put up his own money when he learned she had developed addictions to alcohol and gambling and was facing eviction.
Mr Spinaze said Mr Schnitzerling gave Gasenzer $24,000 towards the purchase of a $41,000 mobile home and allowed her to live on his property.
He said Mr Schnitzerling did not realise Gasenzer had been stealing from him until she quit her job and he brought in accountants to balance the books.
The court was told Gasenzer continually denied stealing from Mr Schnitzerling, saying she took the money as a loan and had documents to prove it.
Mr Spinaze said Gasenzer's claims about the loan were false and that she later admitted taking the cash to feed her gambling addiction.
He said Gasenzer had not repaid Mr Schnitzerling any of the money she took.
Barrister Julian Noud, for Gasenzer, said his client had a "chronic gambling addiction,'' but was also suffering work-related stress at the time of the fraud.
Judge David Reid, in sentencing Gasenzer, said: "The failure of you to fully accept your responsibility ... is a significant aggravating feature of this case.''
Judge Reid ordered Gasenzer's four-year jail term be suspended after she has served 15 months in actual custody.