WA pair jailed over gas company fraud

Two men who spent more than four years fraudulently obtaining $465,153 from a gas company, where one of them worked in marketing, have been jailed.

Justin Drew Magatelli, 44, was sentenced in the West Australian District Court to three years and four months behind bars, while Robert William Lindsay Prestney, 37, was imprisoned for two years.

A firm called J&R Media Marketing was set up and invoiced Kleenheat Gas, who was Magatelli's employer, for placements that never occurred.

Judge Philip McCann said 52 separate invoices were submitted and paid, which was possible because Magatelli was a marketing manager at Kleenheat Gas and could approve invoices without recourse up to $10,000 plus GST.

"In effect, he was able to get J&R approved as a supplier and get J&R paid on a no questions asked basis because of his authority and because of Kleenheat's accounting systems," Judge McCann said.

"The money was there for the taking provided that the fraud was well executed and secrecy was maintained, which was the case."

Judge McCann described it as a very sophisticated fraud and said Magatelli had committed a breach of trust.

"Indeed this fraud would have continued were it not for an accidental remark made by a colleague to an outsider."

If Magatelli is granted parole, his earliest date will be in February 2020, while Prestney could be freed in June next year. The pair must also pay restitution.