THE former general manager of Event Cinemas at Glendale and Kotara used a corporate credit to make $150,000 worth of fraudulent payments to three of his own personal businesses over a more than seven-year period.
Garth Weiley, 41, an Australian Labor Party member who in 2016 ran in the west ward of Lake Macquarie's local government election, was due to face a hearing in Newcastle Local Court on Tuesday, but pleaded guilty to a charge of dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage by deception.
Weiley will be sentenced in January, when he will face a maximum penalty of two years in jail.
Weiley started working at Event Cinemas in 2006 and rose through the ranks to become general manager of two cinemas before his sudden resignation in December, 2017.
As part of his employment, Weiley was given a corporate credit card for "incidental business purposes".
However, up until the end of 2017, when Weiley resigned amid an internal investigation into his fraudulent activity, all purchases and bill payments under $1000 were self-approved by Event Cinema general managers with no other approval required, according to a statement of police facts.
The investigation uncovered that between August, 2010, and November, 2017, Weiley had been using his Event Cinemas corporate credit card to purchase items and pay bills for his telecommunication business and his two printing businesses, which Weiley had registered and was directing without the permission of Event Cinemas. According to detectives, Weiley would submit an invoice from one of his three businesses to himself, which he would then pay using the Event Cinemas corporate card.
The invoice - which was either to make a purchase or pay a bill for one of his businesses - would then be approved by Weiley and paid for by Event Cinemas, who believed they were legitimate business expenses.
The majority of the purchases and bills were under $1000, which allowed Weiley to self-approve them.
While an internal investigation was ongoing, Weiley resigned in December, 2017, and was paid out all his entitlements. The matter was referred to police and he was charged in January, 2019.
Weiley maintains some services were provided by his business to Event Cinemas, but the cinema chain say that, if so, they were not "legitimate or authorised".