Store manager

Jewelry store manager Michael Hill stole over $50,000

A former manager of Michael Hill stores in Queenstown and Christchurch stole cash and jewelery from the business for more than two years before being reported by suspicious colleagues.

The man, who has had the name permanently removed, was convicted by Judge Russell Walker of robbery and theft by a person with a special relationship, in Queenstown District Court last week.

After joining the business in 2013, the defendant became manager of its store at The Palms shopping center in Christchurch in 2016 before taking on the role of manager in Queenstown in 2019.

In April last year, three colleagues contacted management over concerns that he was not following company procedures and was carrying out illegal activities.

He was suspended the following month, then resigned, when the company opened an internal investigation.

The ensuing police investigation uncovered between February 2019 and May last year, first in Christchurch and then in Queenstown. His offense included stealing jewelry, processing bogus refunds, refunding personal bank accounts, providing personal account numbers to customers to pay for jewelry, and embezzlement. species.

A total of $77,427.34 in cash and money transfers was diverted from the two stores.

On October 7 last year, police searched her home and found 14 pieces of jewelery in her bedroom wardrobe, including diamond rings, wedding rings, gold chains, a necklace and earrings.

Among the items was a diamond ring he had listed for sale on an e-commerce site earlier that year.

The items, excluding the diamond ring, were valued at $18,030.

The final loss for the company was calculated at just over $50,000.

Defense attorney Bryony Shackell said the defendant suffered from a serious gambling addiction.

He was extremely remorseful and had proactively sought professional help to resolve the issue.

A probation service report said the defendant “felt sick” while stealing the money and had trouble sleeping for the duration of his offence.

He told the report writer that he had stolen from a business he loved, letting his addiction “completely suppress my morals and beliefs.”

Judge Walker told the defendant that his offense had subsidized a lifestyle he could not otherwise afford and was a major breach of trust, given his role as branch manager.

He gave discounts for guilty pleas, prior good character, offering to pay reparations, remorse and prospects for rehabilitation, arriving at a 16½ month prison sentence.

This was converted to an eight-month house arrest sentence.

The defendant, who will be subject to post-detention conditions for six months, must immediately pay the company $25,000 in reparations, with the pace of payment of the balance to be decided after his financial situation has been established.

Judge Walker granted the deletion of the defendant’s final name on the grounds that publication would interfere with his recovery from gambling addiction and other mental health issues.