Sentence for Meals on Wheels exec Sean Peter Burk
Sentence for Meals on Wheels exec Sean Peter Burk

Former CEO and sex chat thief sentenced after $111k fraud

THE FORMER Meals on Wheels Tasmania CEO will spend the next 18 months under home detention for stealing more than $111,000 from the charity - partly to fund his online sex addiction.

Sean Peter Burk, 62, developed compulsive sexual behaviours after he started taking the drug Sifrol for his Parkinson's disease.

While sentencing on Wednesday, Supreme Court judge Michael Brett noted differences in Burk's case and that of former Glenorchy mayor and Labor politician Terry Martin.

Sean Peter Burk leaves the Supreme Court of Tasmania, Hobart. Picture Chris Kidd
Sean Peter Burk leaves the Supreme Court of Tasmania, Hobart. Picture Chris Kidd

Martin also took the notorious drug before he was convicted in 2011 of unlawful sexual intercourse with a 12-year-old girl and producing child exploitation material.

Justice Brett said Burk had pleaded guilty to one count of dishonestly acquiring a financial advantage from July 2012 to February 2017 by setting up a salary sacrifice system with his employer but taking funds that exceeded the amount he was entitled to.

The Meals on Wheels boss then used the cash to pay for personal items, taking steps to cover up his scam.

The court was previously told he spent some $20,000 to buy online chats with adult sex workers, and the same amount again to a woman he met on a dating website.

But as Justice Brett explained, the steps he took were not sophisticated and were easily uncovered once a finance officer looked in to the discrepancies.

Former Meals on Wheels Tasmania CEO Sean Peter Burk outside Hobart Supreme Court in Hobart last month. AAP Image/Ethan James
Former Meals on Wheels Tasmania CEO Sean Peter Burk outside Hobart Supreme Court in Hobart last month. AAP Image/Ethan James

The judge also noted a known side-effect of taking Sifrol was impaired impulse control - including sexual inhibition, impulse-buying and incurring debt.

However, he said the drug hadn't impacted Burk's capacity to understand that taking the extra money was wrong.

He also said his case differed from Terry Martin's because the politician's child sex offending was a direct consequence of taking the drug, whereas in Burk it caused impulse control problems that then led to the financial offending.

Burk was ordered to undergo an 18-month home detention order at his Dodges Ferry home and repay Meals on Wheels nearly $5000, and its insurance company more than $98,000.

Defence barrister Greg Barns said Burk also planned to travel to Sydney to undertake deep-brain stimulation treatment for his Parkinson's disease.

 

amber.wilson@news.com.au

 

 

 

Originally published as Former CEO and sex chat thief sentenced after $111k fraud



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