Graham Pearce.
Graham Pearce.

Pimlico man jailed over $50k fraud

A ‘WHITE collar criminal’ who embezzled more than $50,000 from a Lismore company was yesterday given a 12-month jail sentence.

Graham Pearce, 44, of Pimlico, was found guilty of 24 charges relating to fraud.

Over a two-year period Pearce deposited about $51,000 belonging to the company, All Trades Pty Ltd, into his personal bank account.

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

Some of the money was from the sale of goods through the business.

At times Pearce, who was a director and a shareholder of the company, forged the signature of his business partner, Peter Visco, to enable cheques to be banked into his personal account.

In sentencing him in Lismore Local Court yesterday, Magistrate Robyn Denes said Pearce had committed a serious breach of trust.

“This ($50,000) is a significant amount of money, certainly to a small business operation in Lismore,” she said.

“This was not a one-off.”

Ms Denes acknowledged the financial and emotional impacts the crimes had on Mr Visco and his family.

“It’s also the loss of a friend and trusted person,” she said.

Defence counsel Peter O’Connor said his client had a ‘long standing problem with depression’ and that his marriage had broken down as a result of the charges against him.

“He has lost his home. He has been living in motels in the Ballina area,” Mr O’Connor said.

“He has brought on himself things which have been quite devastating.

“He has effectively lost everything. This was an immense and greatly regretted error.”

Although Mr O’Connor said Pearce ‘expressed remorse and shame’, he had not formally apologised to Mr Visco.

“There is a very bad relationship,” he said.

“He tells me that he did (verbally apologise to Mr Visco) when this first came to light.”

Ms Denes sentenced Pearce to 12 months’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of three months.

He will be eligible for release on August 13.

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