An Inverell man has been forced to mortgage his house to repay "an extreme amount of money" to avoid prison time for stealing from his employer.
Billy Joe Thomas Mangion, 31, was charged with stealing a total amount of $79,800 from a local small business over several months - starting three days after Christmas in 2019 and continuing until the end of March 2020.
Despite fingerprint forensics and CCTV footage capturing Mangion accessing a black pencil case filled with cash from the secured safe on numerous occasions, he pleaded not guilty at his first court appearance in February 19, 2021, at Inverell Local Court.
Mangion's legal representative, Mandy MacKenzie, said at the time of the theft, her client - who had children including two sets of twins - was experiencing "a lot of financial pressure" and the act wasn't one of "greed" but rather of "financial strain".
"He says in his sentencing assessment report that it was one of the stupidest things he's ever done," she said.
"He didn't enter a plea of guilty at the first ... he was quite panicked being his first time at court."
Mangion had no record, no priors, and was normally of good character - even volunteering his time during the bushfires, she told the court.
Magistrate Mal McPherson expressed his doubt Mangion could pay the money back, saying it'd take him "years, if ever".
Ms MacKenzie said there was a possibility of mortgaging his house to repay the "extreme amount of money".
Magistrate McPherson agreed to let them have the rest of the day to confer with the bank.
On Friday, Ms MacKenzie said he'd secured a $50,000 bank cheque, "as much as they could get", and could make arrangements for the remaining sum.
Magistrate McPherson said he "didn't want him to fail", so made repaying the money by September 30 a condition of his 18 month intensive corrections order.
"It was a breach of trust, and must've had a huge impact on that business."
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