Michael John McKenna, who has been accused of stealing and gambling transferring the money from a school trust’s association in Tasmanian into his personal accounts, may face lengthy jail time. The Hobart Magistrates Court has heard that the gambling addict broke the trust and stole from the schools where he was employed. It was further revealed that all the money stolen has been spent on gambling and that Mr. McKenna is now broke.
According to the public prosecutor Mick Allen said Michael John McKenna, 32, who was hired as the only employee of the Sports Association of Tasmanian Independent Schools in January 2011, transferred large amounts of cash into his personal accounts and gambled all of it.
The Police report that is in the hands of the prosecutors’ states that with just six months into the job, Mr. McKenna started an 11-month spending spree. He is accused of being dishonest on over 97 cheques with a total estimated around $112,280.
The accusations are that he managed to bridge the association’s SATIS systems so that he can channel the funds into his own coffers.
Mr. Allen said SATIS — which includes The Friends’ School, Hutchins, Fahan, and Launceston Church Grammar — was at some stage bankrupted because of McKenna’s actions. It has been heard that the association was saved by contributions from a small group of its members.
Gambling corrupted a good family man
His lawyer, Bruce McTaggart, SC, told the court that Mr. McKenna actually suffered from a wagering disorder as he was exposed to gambling from an early age. The defence said Mr. McKenna began gambling from age 16.
Mr. McKenna, a representative’s former soccer player who is a father, has been rumoured to be a man of excellent character and his lawyers said he felt remorseful for the actions.
It is also believed that the gambling problem cost Mr. McKenna his marriage and as a responsible citizen, he has committed himself to addressing his gambling problem through counselling.