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Former Guide Dogs boss escapes jail time

08/01/2019By Richard Chiu • Staff Journalist
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Former Guide Dogs Victoria general manager Sandro Cirianni has avoided a possible 10-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to three counts of obtaining advantage by deception.

The County Court in Melbourne has ordered Cirianni to complete 300 hours of community work and fined him $3,750 for defrauding Guide Dogs Victoria of more than $200,000 between April 2013 and March 2016.

In handing down the sentence, Judge Susan Cohen took into account the fact that Cirianni paid back all the stolen money on top of litigation costs, but rejected claims that his actions were a “terrible mistake” and to provide for his wife and children while he was suffering a critical health condition.

In a statement, Guide Dogs Victoria chief executive Ms Karen Hayes said that the organisation respected the court’s decision.

“It has been a long two years and we are glad there is now closure on this issue. We would like to commend Victoria Police for their diligence in prosecuting this crime and ensuring that all funds were repaid immediately once discovered,” she said.

A forensic audit conducted three months after Cirianni resigned from the organisation uncovered his fraudulent activities, after auditors traced three air conditioning units missing from Guide Dogs Victoria’s inventory to Cirianni’s home.

The investigation revealed Cirianni made 117 improper purchases, including false invoices for home improvements amounting to $178,413, numerous corporate credit card expenses for personal use, and fuel cards worth $4,519.

 

More reading:

Guide Dogs boss who stole $210k faces possible 10-year sentence

Image courtesy: Herald Sun

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