Former truck hire company director jailed for $120k fraud
The former director of car and truck rental business Thrifty Rockhampton has been jailed for fraudulently obtaining more than $120,000.
John Edward Featherstone, 63, was sentenced on Thursday in Rockhampton District Court for one count of fraud to which he pleaded guilty to on March 10.
Featherstone purchased the franchise with his parents and then wife in 1991 and the company (Central Car and Truck Rental which operated under the name of Thrifty Rockhampton) had a fleet of 50 vehicles at Central Queensland sites - Rockhampton, Gladstone, Maryborough, Emerald, Hervey Bay and Bundaberg - along with 16 full-time staff when placed into administration on July 13, 2016.
Featherstone was told by the administrator 10 days later not to do anything with the business vehicles.
Liquidators were appointed on August 17, 2016, and Featherstone approached Hi-Way 1 Truck Centre on Lower Dawson Rd in September 2016 about four Mitsubishi trucks available for sale.
While the trucks were being inspected by a representative from Hi-Way 1 Truck Centre, Featherstone told them he had three more bigger trucks he owned outright that were also available.
Hi-Way 1 Truck Centre purchased the three bigger trucks for $122,000 and spent $18,000 refurbishing and repairing the trucks before the fraud offence was detected.
The court heard part of the delay for justice was the investigation by liquidators and Australian Securities and Investments Commission continued until December 2017 and the Queensland Police Service investigation ran between November 2017 and November 2018 with Featherstone arrested on December 27, 2018.
The ASIC matters were finalised in Rockhampton Magistrates Court on January 15, 2019, where Featherstone was fined $1750.
This was not the first time the business was put in the spotlight for dishonest type offences.
Central Car and Truck Rental was fined more than $92,500 in 2013 for underpaying an employee almost $30,000 over a five-year period between 2007 and 2012.
Fair Work investigated the business after an employee, who worked as a vehicle detailer, lodged a complaint with the ombudsman.
Fair Work inspectors found the employee did not receive his minimum rate of pay, weekend penalty rates, public holiday rates, overtime rates and annual leave entitlements.
They took legal action in Brisbane's Federal Circuit Court.
The company was fined $77,200 with then-director Featherstone fined an additional $15,444.
Judge Jennifer Rosengren on Thursday sentenced Featherstone to 3.5 years prison, suspended after nine months with an operational period of 3.5 years for the fraud charge.