Qld man jailed over fraud for fertility treatment

·2-min read
Darren England/AAP PHOTOS

Darren Joseph Schoenwald was not motivated by greed, extravagance or addiction during the years he stole nearly $100,000 from his employer.

The now 47-year-old first-time offender used the money towards 19 cycles of fertility treatment, a court has been told.

Schoenwald first defrauded Unirack months after being employed as Queensland branch manager in Brisbane in 2013.

He was so well regarded the company promoted him to state general manager in late 2018.

Less than a year later he admitted organising a one-off payment to his account for in vitro fertilisation (IVF), telling his boss he would repay it.

A few days later he admitted facilitating transfers of about $35,000.

Schoenwald lost his job when the company discovered 36 fraudulent transactions, some involving altered invoices.

After pleading guilty in the Brisbane District Court on Thursday - more than three years after the $99,127.32 fraud was detected - he referred to the possibility of reimbursement.

The payment would be subject to a reduction for money Schoenwald claims to be owed and subject to "things keeping going well", according to a letter the now father-of-two wrote to the court.

"If there was a genuine attempt to repay some of the money taken it would have been expected that some discussions would have been already had and at least potentially some part payment made," Judge Suzanne Sheridan said.

She accepted he was motivated by personal difficulties resulting from the expensive IVF process.

The family-owned business's general manager said Schoenwald was a trusted employee who he regarded as a personal friend.

"He speaks of the betrayal of trust to him, his wife and his staff and the impact of your actions on that business in Queensland," Judge Sheridan said in delivering her sentence.

"Your offending cuts at the heart of the system of employment."

She sentenced Schoenwald to four years behind bars, suspended after serving 12 months.