MORIAH College’s former finance manager Augustine “Gus” Nosti is tonight spending his first night behind bars after being sentenced to a maximum of nine years’ imprisonment for stealing $7.4 million from the school.
The 58-year-old – who pleaded guilty in March to five counts of dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception – was handed a non-parole period of five-and-a-half years.
An agreed statement of facts tendered to the court earlier this year shows Nosti stole $3.4 million via 363 direct transfers to himself since December 2004, the year he began at the school.
He also stole almost $4 million by redirecting 39 GST tax refunds into his own bank accounts instead of the college’s between August 2015 and his resignation in March 2019.
Sentencing Nosti in the Downing Centre District Court on Wednesday, Judge Karen Robinson said that while his offences were “unsophisticated and ultimately easily detected”, they were “systematic” in nature, “skilfully executed over an extended period” and consisted of a “level of planning”.
She said Nosti had “abused his position of trust” as an employee in charge of the entire financial functioning of the college.
In a letter to parents on Wednesday afternoon, Moriah president Stephen Jankelowitz said, “Today’s sentencing is the culmination of criminal proceedings, which followed a painstaking process of independent forensic and financial investigation that has been ongoing for close to two years.
“The fraud perpetrated against Moriah by Gus Nosti shocked the school community. It was a fraudulent and devastating betrayal.
“While justice has been served today, this process has taken a significant toll on the College as a whole, however with these criminal proceedings now behind us, we look to the future with optimism.
“The Board of Directors acknowledges the frustration of those in the community who were critical about the lack of detail provided about this case while it was before the courts. However, we know that most people appreciated the limitations on what we could share openly, to avoid the risk of prejudicing any action.
“Our recovery efforts in relation to the funds are ongoing, and we will report further as developments occur.
“Our thanks go to the many individuals who have invested countless hours to see the criminal process through to its completion, and to everyone who has offered their support.”