A FORMER accountant working for Newcrest Mining Limited who gambled away $1.2 million of the company’s money over a three-year period said in Orange District Court yesterday he has accepted he will go to jail for the offence.
Bruce Allan Johnston, 40, broke down in Orange District Court yesterday and said he had defrauded Newcrest because he was unable to control his gambling addiction.
Evidence presented in court showed Johnston generated false invoices to cover the amount of money he stole to feed his gambling habit from 2010 to November 2013.
When Newcrest auditors discovered anomalies in the company’s accounting system in 2013 Johnston was sacked.
Johnston said since that time he has been doing labouring jobs, working in the construction industry and on a district orchard to support his family.
Johnston said he has sought professional help while waiting to be sentenced on the charge of dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception, and has completed a three-week residential addiction rehabilitation program run by the St John of God organisation.
“It gave me an opportunity to reflect on what I had done and to make some changes,” Johnston said.
He said in court he had begun gambling at the age of 17 at the height of his gambling addiction when he was working for Newcrest he would place up to 100 bets a day in a variety of ways including online and through a mobile phone application and would bet on a range of sporting events including during football games.
After giving evidence Johnston was questioned by Judge John Williams.
“This fraud started in 2010 - you must have known you were doing the wrong thing?
“Why did you let it go on for three years - its a huge loss to your employer - it’s not $25,000,” Judge Williams said.
Johnston said it is something he has reflected on regularly and he is extremely remorseful.
“I just got in too deep and I couldn’t stop,” he said.
Senior counsel Graham Turnbull acting for Johnston asked Judge Williams to consider allowing his client to enter into an eight-week residential rehabilitation program at St John of God before being sentenced, and he agreed.
It was not opposed by prosecutor for the Director of Public Prosecutions Talitha Hennessy.
Johnston will be sentenced in June at the Downing Centre in Sydney and his bail is continued.
Judge Williams has requested a report from St John of God hospital staff regarding Johnston.
Johnston was supported in court yesterday by a large group of family and friends.