As is quite common in these cases, the lady had worked for her employer for a long time – 18 years – and a stressful life situation caused her to start the fraud in 2012.
People in businesses who hold positions of trust, and have financial duties can find it easy to take money fraudulently and hide the losses over a long time frame – often 2 – 3 years.
By putting bank account details into invoices after they’d been approved, duplicating accounts and diverting refund payments into their own accounts they can rack up significant sums.
In small businesses, losses on any scale are hard to counter.
Fidelity Insurance, often called Crime insurance, can prove to be the salvation for business owners who find they’ve suffered in this way.
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The Herald reports
Teremoana Kimiangatau, 54, was sentenced today at the Manukau District Court after earlier pleading guilty on all three charges of “obtaining by deception”, laid by the Serious Fraud Office [SFO].
The former airport accounts clerk, of 18 years, had transferred funds from the company’s bank account to her own account.
She did this by changing the client bank account numbers to her own within the airport’s accounting system.
After the offending was uncovered, Kimiangatau repaid all of the money except for a shortfall of about $200,000.
Today, Crown prosecutor Gareth Kayes submitted a starting point of six to seven years imprisonment was appropriate with discounts given for the mitigating factors of the voluntary repayment, along with her previous good character and evident remorse.
However, it was offending that was premeditated, repetitive over three and a half years, involved an abuse of trust and caused significant loss to Auckland Airport.
Kimiangatau’s lawyer, Peter Winter, said after a long period with the company, the offending began when her family suffered financial blows in 2012.
Her husband, an aircraft engineer tradesman, had his job advertised five times and was forced to reapply for it four times.
This caused the family to suffer depression and stress.
“Inexcusably, she started taking money from the company,” Winter told the court.
Kimiangatau saw how easy the company recovered from losses due to “double-counting” which gave her confidence in her offending, Winter said.
According to the summary of facts, read to the court by Judge John Bergseng, Kimiangatau, who was responsible for arranging payment to Auckland Airport suppliers, on 34 occasions used her specialized knowledge to access the system.
She did this by putting her bank account details into invoices after they’d been approved, duplicating accounts and diverting refund payments into her own account.
This took place over more than three years from May 9 2012 to September 26, 2013 and she used the a home, cars, holidays, repaying debts and other life expenses.
Judge Bergseng said Kimiangatau’s fraud involved a “relatively high degree of sophistication” and the motivated was “lifestyle-related”.
“You were wanting to be in a position whereby you were back in your own home and your were able to use the money to fund your own lifestyle.”
SFO director Julie Read said this morning:
“After many years of honest employment, Mrs Kimiangatau let both herself and her employer down by committing this crime. In a position to see weaknesses in the system, she chose to take advantage of them rather than to see that they were remedied. There is no excuse for that. All employees have a responsibility to ensure that processes are thorough and adhered to.”
The full NZ Herald story can be seen here