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R v Weiss [2022] NSWDC 619

The offender was sentenced following pleas of guilty to 3 counts of engaging in conduct that results in the falsification of books affecting or relating to the affairs of the company contrary to s 1307(1) of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth). Additional corporations offences were taken into account under s 16BA.

Nature and Circumstances: Offender was the director of the company. Offender requested that an employee create false payment confirmations. Offender’s conduct was deliberate and calculated. Offender enlisted the services of a young employee who would clearly have been vulnerable and susceptible to perform tasks at the direction of offender. Whilst offending occurred over a relatively short period, it involved repeated acts of falsification, consisting of 10 documents purporting to be receipts for transfer of not insubstantial funds. Offender then sought to use the false documents to aboid accountability in respect of a major project in which their business was engaged. The majority of those funds were applied towards payments of offender’s personal credit card. Each offence is objectively serious. There is some injury, loss or damage resulting from offences.

Contrition: Offender has demonstrated a degree of contrition reflected in the sentencing assessment report, psychological report, and various references. There is also a degree of contrition reflected in the payments made to the builder and DEC. Offender’s statements reflect some lack of insight into offending and a of recognition of offender’s deliberate criminal conduct.

Character: Offender has one prior conviction for negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm from 2013. There is no further offending and no other convictions arising from offender’s management of businesses or corporations. While good character may be of lesser significance for white collar crimes, offender is still entitled to the benefit of their good character, having been involved in the operation and management of businesses for a considerable period.

Rehabilitation: Offending occurred during a tumultuous time in offender’s life, including an acrimonious separation, litigation in respect of custody of their children, and financial difficulties of their business. Offender was suffering from a chronic stress condition. Offender has good prospects for rehabilitation and has embarked upon such rehabilitation by establishing an apparently successful business overseas and recalibrating their personal life.

Offender sentenced to 10 months imprisonment, to be released immediately on recognizance of $1,000 to be of good behaviour for 18 months, and to pay a pecuniary penalty of $20,000.
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