Partner defrauded of over $40,000

Graham Pearce: Guilty.
Graham Pearce: Guilty. Ross Irby

LISMORE businessman Graham Pearce has pleaded guilty to defrauding his former hardware business partner of more than $40,000.

In a series of illegal transactions Pearce directed money from business clients for goods to be paid directly into his personal account.

Pearce, 44, of Pimlico, pleaded guilty in Lismore Local Court yesterday to 25 counts of fraud against All Trades Pty Ltd that occurred when he was a director and a shareholder of the company between July 2007 and July last year.

In police documents before the court it was revealed that in excess of $50,000 was involved in the offending against All Trades Pty Ltd, a Molesworth Street business that was a retailer of building tools, hardware and building supplies.

Pearce was sacked from the company last August.

Offences also included cheque deposits that were paid into his personal account with police accusing Pearce of forging the signature of his business partner, Peter Visco, on some cheques, endorsing them to be paid into his personal account.

In June last year Mr Visco discovered the missing money while investigating a number of outstanding accounts.

When contacted the clients told Mr Visco that Pearce had previously instructed them to pay the money into his personal account.

The first offence took place on July 31, 2007, and involved a payment of $5947.

Even Ballina Shire Council was unwittingly caught up in the fraud after one of its payments for goods was paid into a personal account held by Pearce.

Magistrate Robyn Denes adjourned the matter for sentence to May 14.

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