By Chris Nicholls

BENDIGO: Reilly’s Retravision in Bendigo is counting the cost after a former employee was found to have stolen $92,000 from the shop over 13 months in a bid to keep her younger lover.

The woman, Ann Jones, pleaded guilty to the Bendigo Magistrates Court to stealing the money from Reilly’s, claiming it was so her lover could keep living the high life despite their joint mortgage payments.

Jones siphoned off the money during her part-time work at Reilly’s, supplementing her income by up to $600 a week and paying up to $4,000 in lump sums to herself, according to Bendigo’s Advertiser newspaper. To cover her tracks, Jones apparently altered books to show increased amounts paid to suppliers.

She was convicted and ordered to repay the money, plus $11,250 in expenses. Jones will also serve an eight month intensive corrections order. 

Reilly’s Retravision principal Glen Reilly said while the theft affected their bottom line for the last trading year, it had not affected their day-to-day trading.

“It was a hit, but we’re trading strongly now,” he said.

“Because it was a gradual thing over time, it wasn’t one big hit, which would have been far more noticeable.”

“I suppose if there’s any message to the retailers out there, unfortunately, we all have to put people in a position of trust, and … she was doing the MYOB and so she was balancing books, so in effect, she had the opportunity to cover it up,” he said.

“The most disappointing thing, probably, [other than], the loss of the money, obviously, is the trust factor.”
Reilly said Jones had been replaced by a new staff member who had “been through sufficient checks!"