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A man was sentenced to community service for stealing $240,000 in order to attract international cricketers to suburban Melbourne.

Navishta Desilva stated in court that he felt confined by the excessive publicity and pressure he faced after committing to bring in renowned international cricket players to participate in a local Melbourne tournament.

Unable to secure financial support for the players, including experienced West Indies batsman Chris Gayle, he resorted to illegal means in order to gather funds for the Twilight T20 cricket tournament. According to the testimony in the Victorian county court, over the course of 16 months, the individual, who also worked part-time as a DJ, embezzled over $240,000 from his former employer Omnivision, where he held a position as a warehouse assistant.

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The judge, David Brookes, declared on Monday that Desilva showed remorse and sentenced him to a community work order for committing fraud. Brookes also noted that Desilva appeared to be determined to avoid going to jail.

After holding various positions, Desilva developed a strong interest in organizing events and joined Live Nation as a promoter.

He chose to establish his own company for promoting cricket, called Global Talent Entertainment. He had plans to organize an international cricket series, known as Twilight T20, in Dandenong, located in the southeastern region of Melbourne.

According to the court, when he faced difficulties securing sufficient funding, he resorted to embezzling from his employer. This was done by fabricating invoices to increase prices and diverting the money to his personal bank account.

From March 2021 to July of the previous year, he took $241,439.75, resulting in a $189,125 loss for his employer due to unfulfilled purchase orders.

He utilized the embezzled funds to compensate cricket athletes – such as Sri Lanka’s Tillakaratne Dilshan and Lahiru Thirimanne – a sum exceeding $70,000.

The contest was terminated on its second day due to Desilva’s arrest.

The individual admitted to wrongdoing in order to gain financial benefits and has since repaid the funds to Omnivision with the assistance of his family. The 36-year-old is currently working two jobs in order to reimburse his relatives.

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According to court testimony, Desilva confided in a psychologist that he felt compelled to raise the funds due to the expectations of others. He expressed, “I was under immense pressure and did not want to disappoint anyone.”

Brookes stated that Desilva felt confined by the commitments and excitement generated by the publicity of these events.

“He stated that after failing to secure sponsorship funding, you resorted to committing offenses in order to obtain the necessary money.”

Desilva confessed to using a portion of the funds for extravagant vacations and high-end fashion.

After receiving a three-year community corrections order, he was released from court and required to complete 200 hours of unpaid work.

Source: theguardian.com