Man wins $1 million, blows it, turns to crime
A FORMER lottery millionaire's tragic fall from grace hit bottom in Gympie Magistrates Court yesterday, when the Cooloola Coast man went to jail for stealing nearly $15,000 from three vulnerable community groups whose members trusted him.
Former Sunshine Coast man George Parkyn, 63, began at least five months behind bars.
He admitted stealing $11,880.70 from his main victim, the Cooloola Coast Bowls Club.
He also admitted to stealing $2388.35 from Cooloola Waters Retirement Village and $240 from Cooloola Coast Medical Transport.
The court had been told Parkyn donated some of his lottery winnings to the hospital which cared for his sick child, now dead.
Solicitor Chris Anderson said Parkyn had won a first division prize in a lottery on December, 2003, netting him "just over $1m".
He had also become "used to a lifestyle" and was now no longer wealthy, Mr Anderson told the court.
"He is not proud of that," he said, adding that Parkyn had no gambling or other addictions.
Magistrate Chris Callaghan noted that the crimes involved conduct that was most unlikely to go undetected.
The Cooroy-born Parkyn wiped away an occasional tear during sentencing and looked neither left nor right as he carried a small pack of belongings with him through the courtroom's back door to the watchhouse and, from there, prison.
He had pleaded guilty to stealing as a servant from the bowls club on March 26 and fraud as an employee between August 25 2017 and April 4, 2018, as well as defrauding the retirement village between June 1 and 28 last year and from the transport charity on March 2 last year.
The court was told Parkyn had initially repaid $358.55, after being found out and receiving a letter of demand.
A subsequent audit had uncovered the rest of the missing money.
Mr Callaghan noted Parkyn had attempted to hide his crimes "in a devious way" by writing documents purporting to show the money had been paid to various local businesses.
"But they were paid into your own account," Mr Callaghan said. "It was not a very sophisticated fraud; it was bound to be found out eventually."
Told that Parkyn had suffered severe shame and "suicidal ideations", Mr Callaghan said this was not unusual in such cases.
He sentenced Parkyn to 18 months, with parole after five months and repayment of an outstanding $14,509.09.