A grandmother stole a dazzling amount from the small business where she worked as an office manager and used it for a shocking expense.
Divorce, bankruptcy and citizenship issues – these are all matters that can take you to court. But not all courts are created equal…
Divorce, bankruptcy and citizenship issues – these are all matters that can take you to court. But not all courts are created equal.
A Melbourne grandmother who worked as a manager of a real estate firm stole more than three-quarters of a million dollars from her employers, a small business, in about three years.
Debbie Ann Mauger, 57, had a salary of $85,000 when she made a series of fraudulent payments, with expense labels like « advertising, » from Belle Property Sandringham’s business account to her own bank account, stealing a total of $853,000.
Her lawyer Jason Gullaci told the County Court of Victoria on Thursday that she had put more than half of her money into slots.
The court was told that the company nearly went bankrupt after the mass theft between December 2016 and February 2020, when an accountant began questioning the unreliable charges and Ms Mauger resigned.
She pleaded guilty Thursday to three counts of robbery and was told by Judge Rosemary Carlin that she would face « inevitable » jail time if convicted.
In a victim statement, Stephen Tickell, owner of Belle Property Sandringham, said he had almost considered Mrs Mauger family, and her betrayal had scarred him.
« If you can’t trust such good friends, who can you trust? » he said.
He and director Jennifer Dwyer considered retiring, but were forced to put that thought aside when they tried to repay the creditors that Ms. Mauger had secretly lied to about payments.
“The loss to our business from this can never be quantified,” he said.
In the role of Ms. Mauger, she had full access to the company’s bank accounts and found herself in a position of « tremendous trust » after working there for more than eight years, Ms Dwyer said in her victim statement.
“It is impossible to fully articulate the impact this crime has had on me.
« I’m still trying to understand a betrayal of the highest order. »
Ms Mauger could not explain where the money had gone and told police she had bought gifts for her children and grandchildren and would put up to $1000 a night in the slots.
When the police told her she had stolen $850,000, she said, « I think that’s astronomical if I don’t have that to show. »
She rented her house and had no significant possessions except two family cars, Mr. Gullaci said, and made personal purchases, such as $66,000 spent on the iTunes Store.
« I’m in a situation where I just don’t know what happened to the money, » Judge Carlin said.
Her husband and three daughters supported Ms Mauger and she had no previous convictions, Mr Gullaci said.
« She’s one of the last people you’d think would be in the position she’s in right now, » he said.
She will be sentenced on June 25.
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