In the weeks after Salesi Latu Toumo'ua stole more than half a million dollars from Canberra ATMs serviced by his employer, he told his unsuspecting boss the thieves deserved 20 years behind bars.
Toumo'ua's comments caught up with him when a judge sentenced him on Tuesday to five years' jail for stealing $530,000 from several machines in one night and which he gambled for months, eventually forcing the business into liquidation.
G&A Security owner Glen Tibbitts had left Toumo'ua, an ATM technician, in charge when he flew to Melbourne for a family emergency in May 2013.
Toumo'ua, 30, took keys to numerous St George bank ATMs from a safe at the company's Weston office late one night.
He drove to ATMs in Charnwood, Mitchell and Wanniassa shops, using the keys to access the machines, before nabbing the cash.
Another $244,000 was allegedly stolen from an ATM in Queanbeyan that same night.
A few days later, Toumo'ua drove the stolen money to Melbourne and stashed it in a storage facility.
He went on to gamble it through a lengthy string of transactions, using mainly a Tabcorp telephone betting account, during five months.
Toumo'ua bet more than $50,000 on Hawthorn Football Club to win that year's AFL premiership and pocketed winnings of $152,000.
He gambled $71,461 in cash at nine Tabcorp outlets in Melbourne in 24 hours and, on a separate day, lost more than $16,000 gambling at Crown Casino.
Toumo'ua was arrested after police searched the storage unit and seized a briefcase, dozens of Tabcorp betting tickets, $193,000 in cash and an ATM receipt.
He was charged and later pleaded guilty to burglary, theft and money laundering.
His former partner, Siutaisa Helen Schaaf, 29, admitted money laundering linked to more than $28,000 of the money deposited into her bank account.
Mr Tibbitts previously told a sentencing hearing of the devastating impact the pair's crimes had had on him, his family and their employees, saying their lives spiralled downwards after the company collapsed.
He recalled Toumo'ua visited him soon after the thefts, as police still searched for the offenders, and had told him: "The bastards that did this deserve 20 years behind bars."
In handing down her sentence, ACT Supreme Court Justice Hilary Penfold said she would ignore Toumo'ua's suggestion, even though it came from the offender himself, acknowledging his clear betrayal of his employer.
She sentenced Toumo'ua to five years' jail with a non-parole period of 20 months and ordered he pay his former employers $30,000.
The sentence was met with sobs from supporters of the Toumo'ua and the Tibbitts families who were in court, with one woman linked to the former business owners loudly saying: "It's not fair."
Members of the Tibbitts family and their supporters embraced outside court as a family spokeswoman said:
"We're really disappointed with the outcome today and the lack of severity of the custodial sentence that has been given, given the crime and the impact on the family and the business."
Justice Penfold had said Toumo'ua's offences were objectively serious, stating their impact was large and ongoing for his victims, and it was unlikely they were committed on the spur of the moment.
"Mr Toumo'ua was clearly in a position of trust and abused that trust in a dramatic way, despite the personal challenges he knew his employers were facing at the time," Ms Penfold said.
The court heard the couple's insurance company had not paid up because the thefts had been committed by an employee. More than $400,000 of the stolen money had not been recovered.
Justice Penfold noted Toumo'ua claimed he suffered a gambling addiction but she found no evidence he gambled other than the excessive money laundering.
She said members of his close-knit, religious family had spoken of their shock, sadness and embarrassment over his crimes, saying he was genuinely remorseful and expressing hope he would learn from his mistakes.
Justice Penfold said Schaaf had attributed her involvement to greed and passivity and she understood her actions were unacceptable.
Schaaf was sentenced to nine months' imprisonment, to be fully suspended upon entering an 18-month good behaviour order.
Toumo'ua will be eligible for release in February 2018.