Casino glamour seduced lonely man into $1m fraud
By Chee Chee Leung
Wayne John Seiler.
A TXU employee who became "seduced" by the lifestyle of a Crown Casino high-roller stole more than $1 million from his employer to feed his gambling addiction.
Wayne John Seiler was a settlement team leader with the energy retailer when he started authorising false payments from TXU to a legitimate trading company.
He would then substitute the company's payment details with his own bank account number. Between January and August last year he used this method to divert $1,040,819.79 from TXU into his own pocket.
Seiler, of McMahon's Point, NSW, yesterday pleaded guilty in the County Court to four charges of obtaining a financial advantage by deception.
Prosecutor Gavin Silbert said Seiler, 34, told police he committed the thefts to "keep up the appearance of his high-rolling lifestyle" as a gambler at the casino.
The court heard Seiler was a lonely man when he began frequenting the gambling venue after moving to Melbourne in 2002 following the break-up of his marriage.
Defence counsel Peter Chadwick said his client became "totally overawed and seduced" by the casino, and would gamble until the early hours of the morning at the exclusive Mahogany Room.
The court was told the casino would sometimes offer him a $500 presidential room for free, and he was introduced to cocaine and ecstasy by some of the "colourful characters" he met.
Seiler also gambled on horses and online, and sold many of his assets to feed his gaming habit. "It took over his entire life," Mr Chadwick said.
He added that TXU was considering pursuing the casino for compensation, having already started civil proceedings against Seiler in the Supreme Court.
The defence conceded that a jail term was inevitable, but called on the judge to take into account Seiler's guilty plea, his co-operation with police and lack of previous offending.
Judge Tony Duckett released Seiler on bail and said he expected to sentence him within two weeks.