Australia: Summernats fraudster stole more than $160,000 from car festival to fund drug, gambling habit - - PressFrom - Australia
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AustraliaSummernats fraudster stole more than $160,000 from car festival to fund drug, gambling habit

03:50  18 june  2019
03:50  18 june  2019 Source:   abc.net.au

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The woman, 48, who has not been identified, was a finance officer for Summernats when she stole the money between December 2011 and November 2013, the ACT Supreme Court was told.

Summernats fraudster stole more than $160,000 from car festival to fund drug, gambling habit
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Over 260 transactions, the woman's main method of obtaining benefit by deception was to use the Summernats banking system to create payments to her personal account — often using false descriptions.

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She also stole funds by accessing the Summernats payroll database and creating wage payments for herself, and by cashing cheques using the company chequebook.

The court heard the woman was motivated by a gambling habit — she reported spending thousands of dollars per week on poker machines, but denied she had gambled for the past two years.

She was also fuelled by an addiction to the drug ice, which, in 2013, saw her using 100 milligrams on a daily basis for three years.

'Unsophisticated' fraud

Justice Chrissa Loukas-Karlsson said defrauding Summernats of $160,430 over almost two years demonstrated a degree of planning and a lack of impulsiveness, even if the offending was "unsophisticated".

"Counsel for the offender submitted that … the conduct was easily traceable on discovery," Justice Loukas-Karlsson said.

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The annual Street Machine Summernats Car Festival , proudly supported by Rare Spares, is Australia's biggest horsepower party. Created by renowned revhead Chic Henry in 1988, the Summernats has taken on a life of its own and become a genuine Aussie icon.

"There was no attempt, or minimal attempt, to conceal the conduct.

"Given the offender's role as finance officer … where she was 'to a large extent, in control of the system to which she was exploiting', there was a breach of trust by the offender towards her employers."

According to a psychological assessment, the woman expressed guilt, shame and remorse for the offending.

"She feels "terrible" that she betrayed the community and the people's trust, and may have impacted on the Summernats directors' personal financial situation," the report said.

"She is currently volunteering … to try and 'make up' for some of the bad things she has done."

Summernats undertook a 14-month investigation into its accounts after the woman's fraud was discovered.

"No formal reparation order has been sought in this matter, although the offender has expressed a desire to repay the amount," Justice Loukas-Karlsson said.

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The woman, who lives with her children in an ACT Housing property, is currently employed as a bookkeeper on a casual basis.

In sentencing, Justice Loukas-Karlsson noted the woman's remorse, early guilty pleas, an "unexplained" delay in sentencing and good prospect of rehabilitation.

She was sentenced to three years, to be served as an intensive corrections order in the community.'

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Summernats fraudster stole more than $160,000 from car festival to fund drug, gambling habit
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