$51,000 theft a ?call for help

STEALING $51,000 from his employer was really a desperate cry for help from a stressed freight company manager, Rockhampton District Court heard yesterday.

Dennis George Elliott Boyce, 31, of Yeppoon pleaded guilty in Rockhampton District Court yesterday to one count of fraud as an employee of NQX Freight Systems.

Boyce was branch manager of the company between October 2001 and July 2004 when the fraud was discovered.

Crown prosecutor John McGrath said it was a betrayal of trust by a branch manager whose "integrity and reliability should have been paramount''.

Barrister Tom Polley said Boyce, married with two children aged 5 and 2, had committed the fraud after becoming depressed due to extreme pressure at work where he was on call 24 hours.

He was also in a heavy debt situation after over committing with a home loan and credit cards.

Mr Polley said the fraud was doomed to failure.

"He almost wanted to be caught,'' Mr Polley said. "It was a way out. He couldn't handle the position of responsibility.''

Boyce had falsely claimed 55 work entries over a nine month period, paying a sub-contracting company he owned called Happy Nappies a total of $51,882.

Mr McGrath said Boyce had stolen the money to give his family a better lifestyle to the one which they were entitled by paying off home loan and credit card debt and making improvements to his home.

Boyce has since repaid the full amount stolen.

Chief Judge Patsy Wolfe sentenced him to three years jail to be suspended after two months.

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