Luke Aron Perkins
Luke Aron Perkins

Employee sacked for ripping off southwest business

CAR dealership employee Luke Aron Perkins faced court this week after being sacked from O'Brien Toyota in St George for fraud.

The 27-year-old father of two pleaded guilty to one count of fraud as an employee, and one count of contravene direction or requirement of police when he appeared in Roma Magistrates Court on August 5.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Heather Whiting told the court Perkins was employed by O'Brien Toyota in St George for five years before being fired in August 2019.

"Employees of the business were allowed to order parts for their own personal use, and these purchases were allowed with a 10 per cent mark-up," Sergeant Whiting said.

She said Perkins made 26 personal purchases between July 6, 2018, and September 10, 2019, without applying the mark-up.

The total amount of savings Perkins made was $345.43.

The court heard Perkins participated in a formal interview with police on March 13, 2020, and stated he believed it was "the rules and common practice of employees" to do what he did.

O'Brien Toyota told police it was never accepted practice.

"Due to the fact that he was actually an employee of the business, so he's in a place of trust, that actually aggravates the circumstances," Sergeant Whiting said.

Solicitor Jon Wiedman said Perkins was now working in spare parts, having gained employment in Roma last year.

"As I understand, there was some 81 purchases made by him, 53 of those transactions were all done correctly, so to speak," Mr Wiedman said.

"There might have been some grey area as to what he was and what he wasn't entitled to do as an employee."

Magistrate Peter Saggers said it sounded like Perkins had a good job with Toyota.

"You dishonestly gained $345 by purchasing parts," Mr Saggers said.

"It's important when you're working for an employer that you be full and frank in all your dealings with them.

"The most serious aspect of this is not the sum of money, but it's the breach of trust.

"Because employers run businesses, they are required to trust their employees.

"Don't be shifty in any dealings."

Perkins was convicted, fined $1000 and ordered to pay restitution of $527.43 to O'Brien Toyota.


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