A NSW publican has narrowly escaped jail after being caught defrauding Tabcorp of nearly $45,000 in late 2015.
Keith Douglas Cummings is the owner and licensee of the Candelo Hotel, in Candelo, near Bega.
Bega Magistrate’s Court heard on Tuesday (10 May) that Cummings had issued to himself a total of $44,879 worth of Tabcorp vouchers between September and December last year, which he cashed at other venues in the area.
An investigation by Tabcorp uncovered the payment anomalies, and Cummings was charged with ‘obtaining financial advantage by deception’.
Cummings is noted as having fully cooperated with police during their investigation, and pleaded guilty to Magistrate Doug Dick.
Police facts tendered in court show Cummings used the majority of the money to pay bills for the hotel, including to Tabcorp. He expressed sincere remorse in court, and stated that he had begun the frauds after experiencing difficulties with the business during 2015.
“I accept there was an element of desperation, but this was a gross breach of trust and a very serious matter – it carries jail as a penalty,” cited Magistrate Dick.
“Businesses will go through struggles, but you won’t resort to illegal activity again if yours does. You acted out of character and I hope you won’t do so again.”
Cummings was convicted and ordered to pay restitution of $3898.54 sought by Tabcorp, as well as a $1,000 fine and to do 150 hours of community service.
Tabcorp has subsequently removed its facilities from the Candelo Hotel, and withheld the $5000 bond paid by Cummings.