Gold Robbery at Perth Mint Leads to Two Years in Prison

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Written by Ursula Kampmann
Translated by Leonie Schulze

August 16, 2018 – Joseph Charles Viola, a 29-year-old IT technician working for Perth Mint, successfully smuggled gold and gold coins worth 54,000 AUD off the well-secured premises of Perth Mint between February and April of 2016. He explained to the security guards, who were checking everyone leaving the maximum security units via x-ray, that the precarious data stored on his hard drive would get lost should it be run through an x-ray machine. Consequently, they refrained from x-raying his gadgets and Viola was able to carry the gold hidden in his computer out of the building. Only during a routine check did the mint notice the missing gold. The surveillance cameras made it possible to immediately detect the thief: one of them had captured the man stealing five gold bars and eight gold coins.

The main entry of the Perth Mint. Image: User:Orderinchaos. CC-BY 3.0.

Although the lawyer attempted to defend his client by describing him as a “very fragile person” who had only committed the robbery to please his fiancée, the judge sentenced Viola to two years in prison, one of which must at least be served. “Your breach of trust has caused staff members’ honesty and integrity to be questioned,” the judge said to explain his verdict on a crime which had been “motivated by greed”.

At the beginning of this year already, 27-year-old Matthew Alexander Roussety was convicted. He had smuggled a gold bar, which was going to be melted down, out of the security area in his underpants in December of 2016. When he passed the x-ray unit and the alarm went off, the culprit convinced the security guards it had been set off by the metal zipper on his pants. The theft was discovered when the metal dealer, whom Roussety had sold the bar to, attempted to sell it back to the mint.
Roussetty was sentenced to 15 months in prison. He also has to serve at least half of his sentence before he can request being released on probation.

In connection to Roussety’s theft, the Perth Mint considered prohibiting its employees from wearing clothes which contain pieces of metal. The labor union declared this decision to be misogynistic. They said it would it be discriminating to force women to wear specific bras made by the company.

The Perth Mint is taking these security issues seriously. We received the following statement: “As one of the world’s largest producers of precious metal products, The Perth Mint operates with rigorous security measures in place. Both thefts from our extensive facilities were extremely rare, and quickly detected and passed onto authorities.
Our highly trained security team continuously reviews our security systems and upgrades them with the latest technology, and we will continue to do so. The Perth Mint takes matters such as these very seriously.”

A concise report on the sentence of Joseph Charles Viola can be found on the website of this news agency.

ABC News published more information on the sentence of Roussety.

A short introduction on Perth Mint’s dress code for employees is also available on ABC News.