Meals on Wheels boss stole $111k to pay for online sex
The former boss of Meals on Wheels Tasmania stole more than $111,000 from the charity partly to pay for chats with adult workers amid his sex addiction, a court has heard.
Sean Peter Burk, 62, has pleaded guilty to dishonestly acquiring the money between July 2012 and February 2017.
Burk was taking medication for Parkinson's disease that caused him to develop a sex addiction and obsessive behaviour and impulse buy, defence lawyer Greg Barns told Hobart Supreme Court during sentencing submissions on Wednesday. Burk spent $20,000 chatting to sex workers on a website at $35 per session, the court heard.
He also gave roughly the same amount of money to a woman he met on a dating website who claimed to be from Malaysia.
"These were all funds from Meals on Wheels," Mr Barns said.
In all, Burk took $111,186 from the charity through salary package payments with the funds going into his bank account and to various third parties he owed money.
Burk was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2013, when he started taking the prescription drug sifrol.
Referencing a neurologists report, Mr Barns said Burk's decision making was adversely impacted by the drug and he didn't have a sex addiction prior to taking it.
Mr Barns conceded the offending would usually require a prison sentence but said Burk's health meant home detention "could be entertained".
Burk had an appointment in Sydney next month to begin brain stimulation treatment, a service not available in Tasmania, and would face difficulties receiving care in prison, Mr Barns said.
Justice Michael Brett described Burk's offending as a "shocking breach of trust" and noted the charity would not get much of the money back.
"If it wasn't for his health, he'd be going to prison," Justice Brett said. Justice Brett ordered an assessment on Burk's suitability for home detention and is expected to deliver his sentence on August 5.
The lawyer representing the prosecution noted Burk started stealing money from Meals on Wheels before he began taking sifrol.
Mr Barns said Burk has no income apart from a disability pension and has entered into a reverse mortgage to pay back some of the funds.
Burk had worked in financial positions at various organisations for 35-40 years, the court heard.
Originally published as Boss stole $111k to fund online sex