A man allegedly helped his mate pull off a multi-million dollar gold heist because he thought it was a simple way to solve his money woes.
The $3.9 million heist from the Melbourne Gold Company in April has been described as a "bad movie" and "comedy of errors".
Karl Kachami, 48, is accused of staging an armed robbery with his long-time friend and gold company employee Daniel Ede.
Kachami then allegedly led police to gold bullion and jewellery buried at his family's property at Dollar, in Victoria's Gippsland region.
His barrister, Philip Dunn QC, told Melbourne Magistrates Court on Thursday the father of three would not contest he stole from the gold business on April 27.
"He made a very silly decision," Mr Dunn said, adding it was born out of financial stress wrought by the pandemic.
"He cracked in a COVID situation where he had financial pressure.
"He went along with what he thought was a low-risk plan."
Kachami thought it would be "quite simple and not complicated," Mr Dunn said.
"We don't contest that he's guilty of theft."
But he said it didn't count as an armed robbery because Kachami was invited inside.
He was initially charged with robbing Ede at gunpoint, falsely imprisoning and assaulting him.
These charges were dropped or amended after prosecutors began to suspect it was an inside job.
Ede, 37, is alleged to have let his friend and customer - clad in a tradie vest, surgical mask, safety googles and wheeling a trolley - into the gold business as it opened for the day.
Kachami allegedly told him: "This is a robbery. This is a hold-up" and pulled out a Glock pistol.
The men are accused of unloading the safes, removing gold, jewellery and $716,970 in cash, before Kachami tied his friend up.
Ede then told two customers who came into the business: "don't be alarmed but we've been robbed".
He and Kachami want to be released from custody on bail, but police fear they will retrieve more than $300,000 still missing from the heist.
"This was a crime committed to make money and a lot of money," prosecutor Andrew McKenry said, adding it was the third-largest theft in Victoria's history.
Mr Dunn asked for Kachami to be released so he could care for his children.
He also had a "particularly unpleasant form of diabetes" that was difficult to treat in custody.
His family had offered a $250,000 surety on their property at Dollar - where the gold was found - to ensure he complied with any bail conditions.
"This is like a movie. Not a good movie, a bad movie, a comedy," Mr Dunn said, also comparing it to "Long John Silver and Treasure Island".
"The gun is unloaded ... it's a prop.
"It's an inside job. It's a staged robbery. It's a comedy of errors."
Kachami faces five charges, including stealing, aggravated burglary and firearm offences.
When asked outside court if Kachami was remorseful, Mr Dunn replied "absolutely".
"The poor devil, he's just another victim of COVID in his own funny way."
Magistrate Ross Maxted will hand down the pair's bail decision at a later date.