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Gerry Harvey Hires Convicted Criminal For Top Job

Harvey Norman Chairman Gerry Harvey is set to look after another one of his mates, with a convicted criminal, who stole customers deposits on appliances and his own staff’s payroll, set to be given a job, by the biggest shareholder in the big retailer.

Andrew Eric Young the founder of Kleenmaid appliances admitted to theft last week in the Brisbane District Court is set to be hired as a senior executive, in a Gerry Harvey Owned Agri business.

In 2020, Young was sentenced to nine years jail after being convicted of defrauding the Westpac Bank of more than $13 million and racking up more than $750,000 in debt through insolvent trading.

Kleenmaid founder Andrew Young has avoided returning to jail after admitting new charges.

Last week he admitted to added charges.

Kleenmaid which is still being sold via an online site in Australia, went into administration in 2009 with consolidated debts of around $118 million — including $25.4 million in customer deposits paid for appliances that were never delivered.

The business claims there are more than 1.2 million Kleenmaid Appliances in service in Australia today.

Young a devote Mormon was the third former director convicted over the financial failure of Kleenmaid.

At the Court hearing it was claimed that Young has a job waiting for him with Gerry Harvey.

ChannelNews understands that Gerry Harvey has given Young a job running his NSW, agricultural business.

The business grows cucumbers for children’s lunch boxes.

The artisanal hydroponic operation was acquired by Gerry Harvey several years ago from a business in Holland.

“No one does it better than Holland and this goes way back to the tulips,” he told a BDO agtech webinar back in 2019.

Harvey claimed at the time that he had researched school playground dietary habits by putting a tomato, a cucumber, a grape and whatever else into a food box for lunch.

“And whatever comes back the kids didn’t eat. I know the cucumbers they all love.

“They never come back. So, I go, I’ve got it!

Last week Young pleaded guilty to significantly reduced charges of aggravated fraud involving $330,000 and insolvent trading involving just over $20,500.

Prosecutor Lincoln Crowley claimed that days before the company went into administration, Young transferred $330,000 from the company – draining the staff payroll – leaving them empty-handed when the company folded.

The cash was transferred into an account solely controlled by Young and his wife, and assured staff that the reason “would become clear”.

He also admitted knowing the company was in difficulty and allowed it to continue trading knowing it was days away from being insolvent.

Young now lives in a rented two-bedroom flat with his wife and must continue working into what should have been his retirement.

Gerry Harvey, boss of national retail giant Harvey Norman chain, wrote a reference on behalf of Young and guaranteed him a position in the company on release.

Justice Michael Byrne dismissed the defence claim, saying you would be “hard-pressed” to find an owner who did not inject funds into their own business venture.

AAP reported that the judge also described the business restructure as an “illusion” and that Young retained control of the operation.

He was highly critical of the directors in the final days of Kleenmaid – labelling Young’s actions as greedy and selfish.

“Payday was imminent,” he said.

“You deprived the staff of their wages the same way you deprived them of superannuation payments.”

He described Young’s offending as very serious and that the company director must have known that the company was in financial trouble.

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