The Courier-Mail

Stolen fortune spent on male escorts

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A HOTEL manager who embezzled almost $700,000 to embark on erotic fantasies with male escorts has been jailed for 4½ years.

Judge Irene Lawson described Melbourne man Gary Robert Johnson’s brazen thefts from Radisson Hotels as an inexcusabl­e example of whitecolla­r crime.

She said Johnson, 57, stole $681,000 over seven years to fund a “Walter Mitty”-type lifestyle. The dad-of-two was working as a financial control- ler for Radisson Hotels when in 2007 he started transferri­ng cash into his own bank account.

He used the money to finance a secret fantasy world of male escorts, fancy dinners, personal training and intimate getaways. One escort was paid $199,000 for services, directly from the hotel’s accounts, while Johnson also used $15,000 to throw himself a 50th birthday bash.

An audit of the hotel’s accounts detected the thefts in 2014, sparking a civil action in which the hotel recovered $100,000 from Johnson, before he was charged with more than 300 criminal offences.

Within months of him being charged, Johnson’s wife died, the court heard, from an illness sparked by the stress and anxiety brought on by the revelation of her husband’s offending.

Judge Lawson said nothing but a prison sentence would be just punishment for his crime. Johnson will be eligible for parole after 2½ years.

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