A senior Auckland accountant who scared other staff members has been jailed for nearly three years after swindling almost $200,000 from his firm in a computer fraud scheme.
Sunil Prasad, 44, was sentenced to 32 months' imprisonment when he appeared at the Manukau District Court last month.
He pleaded guilty to 14 fraud charges on March 3.
The accountant, who held a senior position in his company, perpetrated his fraud by accessing his employer's computer system several times between October 2014 and November 2015 to transfer large amounts of money, court documents released to the Herald show.
Prasad, who is married and was living in the South Auckland suburb of Flat Bush, then did his utmost to conceal his offending from his company, which was not named in court documents.
After police began investigating the accountant also continued to work for eight months as an accountant's assistant at another company, failing to tell them about his criminal charges, court documents show.
During the course of his offending the amounts Prasad stole varied, the highest being $36,000 and the smallest about $5000. In total, over 13 and a half months, he stole about $183,000.
"You put it into your bank account and you now say that because of a gambling addiction it is all gone," Judge Gus Andree Wiltens said at sentencing on June 13.
When the firm finally found out what was happening Prasad tried to pay back some of the losses.
"You paid back the final amount of the fraud, $5600, and your employer also withheld a final pay from you of just over $5000," Andree Wiltens said.
In total Prasad attempted to steal funds from his company on 26 occasions. He was successful 25 times.
Andree Wiltens said the money stolen was " a huge amount" and that Prasad had also used his position of power in the company to scare those around him.
"You were in a senior position at the company - I have read a statement from your employer who indicates that other staff members were in awe of you/scared of you," the judge said.
"They were worried about what you might do to them because of the authority that you had over them; that they might be implicated in this somehow and they were very anxious about what was to happen to them as a result of your offending."
Andree Wiltens said there was a "breach of trust" given Prasad was "in such a senior position in the company".
"The company had no idea what you were doing, how you were doing it, why you were doing it, and you were making sure they had no idea by . . . concealing it from them."
The judge said Prasad's offending was "deliberate and well-planned".
Prasad's company had also had difficulty replacing him, not because of his expertise but because of a stigma now held over the company, the judge said.
"People do not want to be involved in a company where there is fraud involved and people also are very concerned about stepping in because they might be tainted themselves."
The company has employed a special employment agent at the cost of $20,000 until a replacement is found, court documents reveal.
A pre-sentence report stated Prasad appeared to be "despondent about being caught" and that he "expressed remorse which appeared genuine".
"However, this was more concerned with the predicament that you are facing rather than genuine sorrow," Andree Wiltens said.