Employee steals nearly $500,000 from employer: reports

Court says manager's actions 'came down to greed'

Employee steals nearly $500,000 from employer: reports

A former employee of Tyco New Zealand Limited was in court last week after swindling nearly half a million dollars from his employer, according to reports.

Kahi Junior Stephens, 47, was previously the warehouse distribution manager for Tyco, where he was in charge of one full-time employee and all temporary seasonal workers, The New Zealand Herald reported.

According to the report, Stephens' responsibilities also included processing the timesheets of seasonal staff and forwarding their banking information to a recruitment agency for payment, which was later reimbursed by Tyco.

However, his employer discovered in 2020 that he was stealing money from them by diverting funds to his own bank accounts.

One of the cases outlined in court was when he kept a temporary employee who worked for the company in 2015 on the payroll for five more years, the NZ Herald reported.

According to the court document cited, Stephens transferred the pay cheques intended for the temporary employee to his own bank account, where he made $83,560 in fraudulent wages.

In another case, Stephens also kept on the books for three more years a temporary worker who worked at the company for a single week in July 2017, where he had over $100,000 transferred to his son's bank account.

In other cases, Stephens would use the name of his family members, including his daughter and nephew, listing them as employees and transferring the payment intended to them to his bank accounts.

Overall, the court found that he swindled a total of $466,629, the NZ Herald reported. Stephens was also fired from his post after the irregular payments had been uncovered.

Actions 'came down to greed'

In court, Stephens pleaded guilty in March 2023 to a representative charge of obtaining by deception.

The court said his motivation "came down to greed," noting that his actions were pre-mediated, deliberate, and persistent.

"It's not only your employer [that was victimised] but you used your relationship with your family members and placed them in a position where you breached that fundamental trust they had in you. That's particularly egregious, in my view," the court said as quoted by the Herald.

Stephens has since paid in full the funds that he stole from his former employer, which the court considered during sentencing last week.

It also considered his remorse and motivation for change, as well as the lack of prior relevant offending.

According to the Herald report, Stephens' home detention is slated to last one year.

The court said his offending caused serious and significant harm but noted that he has "gone a long way to addressing that harm."

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