Reef resort money ‘used on sex worker’
AN ACCOUNTANT accused of stealing up to $850,000 from a Great Barrier Reef island resort to spend on "gambling" and "a male prostitute" has had his assets frozen.
Jameson Tatel Yu, 34, who was earning $80,000 a year as an accountant at Heron Island Resort, has had his assets frozen by the Supreme Court after he allegedly admitted to his boss that he had been stealing from the company.
During a hearing last week the court was told that the resort's accountants found 34 "suspicious payments totalling $724,533".
Yu also has been charged with fraud.
Accountant Steve Marsten told the court in his report dated August 8 that there may be more suspicious payments.
Heron Island Resort general manager Anthony Barradale told the court that he confronted Yu - a Filipino citizen with Australian residency - on July 23 after a supplier asked why he had not been paid.
Mr Barradale told the court that Yu, who had only worked as a Heron Island Resort accountant for three months, "broke down and admitted to gambling and issues with a male prostitute".
Mr Barradale said that the next day Yu "acknowledged that he had been misappropriating" from the resort and paying money to his own bank accounts "for some weeks".
"He said the sum was between $350,000 and $400,000", Mr Barradale told the court.
Yu said that he had changed suppliers' bank account details to his own in order to steal the cash, the court was told yesterday.
Yu later claimed he owed $249,398 and travelled with Mr Barradale to Gladstone to repay the money to the hotel on July 25.
However the hotel's external accountants later reported they believed up to $850,000 had been stolen between April 18 and July 24.
Mr Barradale told the court he had no idea that Yu was stealing, and was shocked when he found out.
Yu worked as assistant financial controller for the Traders Hotel (now called Hotel Jen) in Brisbane between August 2008 and June 2014, when it was owned by the Shangri-La group, according to his CV.
In 2014 and 2015 he worked for the Accor Group in Sydney, then the following year he worked for the Holiday Inn Melbourne, the court heard.
The case returns to court tomorrow.