Former Tin Can Bay butcher stole $10k from local Lions Club
A FORMER Tin Can Bay family butcher has avoided jail despite stealing more than $10,000 from the local Lions club he was a trusted member of almost five years ago.
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Scott Leslie Barker, 43, this week pleaded guilty to seven charges of fraud adding up to $10,547.44 stolen from the club “over a short time” between January 18 and February 9, 2016.
The Gympie Magistrates Court heard Barker’s method of operation was to transfer funds out of the Lions Club’s internet banking accounts and into accounts owned by Nolan’s Meats, to cover debts he owed them.
Barker was the assistant treasurer of the club at that time while his then-wife was treasurer, and he gained access to the accounts through her computer.
Prosecuting Sergeant Michael Phillips submitted to the court that a jail term was “well within range” for Barker, saying he had stolen “a significant amount of money … to benefit his business”.
Barker’s lawyer Lisa Taylor tendered a letter of apology from her client to the court and said he accepted his behaviour was a “great breach of trust” to the Lions club.
Ms Taylor said Barker was now separated and his then-wife had no knowledge of his offending to this day.
She said Barker had no criminal history and was normally a contributing member of society.
The court heard Barker was now working for the Cloncurry Shire Council and was studying engineering at university to further his role there.
Magistrate Chris Callaghan said Barker was “in a position of trust” with the Lions Club, which was an aggravating feature of his offending, but acknowledged he was going through financial stress as a butcher at the time.
Mr Callaghan said that stress must have been compounded by the fact Barker’s young son was hospitalised at the time.
He noted the money still hadn’t been returned to the Lions Club, but Barker had the entire amount in a trust account ready to be paid back.
Barker was given an 18-month suspended sentence and was ordered to pay back the full amount he owed in restitution to the Lions Club within seven days.