Office Manager found Guilty of Fraud!

 18 October, 2018

Fraud Forensic Accounting

Office Manager sentenced to 4 years jail for fraud

A successful family owned business in Brisbane felt the full impact of fraud in their business from a long term employee.  Mrs Brown (not her real name) pleaded guilty to one count of fraud as an employee to the value of $30,000 or more.

She was sentenced to 4 years imprisonment on 20 March 2018 with the parole eligibility date set at September 2018. 

Her reduced sentence took into account her early plea of guilt, no previous criminal history and she had subsequently made full restitution of the amount which she defrauded from her employer.

The misappropriation:

Over a time period of approximately 2 and a half years between 2015 to 2018, Mrs Brown fraudulently overpaid herself as follows:

  • Increasing her wage by an unapproved amount,
  • Paying unapproved amounts from her employer into her superannuation account,
  • Altering leave records to obtain a greater amount of leave than otherwise entitled to, and
  • Paying additional unapproved amounts from her employer into her personal bank account along with her wages.

The total of the above misappropriation amounted to $85,733.83.

This is a typical example of the financial impact that a long term and “trusted employee” with unrestricted access to a business’s operating account, business records and accounting software can do whilst the business owners are busy focus on building the business.

The Victim Impact Statement:

The victim impact statement for this case speaks not only about the financial effects that her conduct had at the time but also the sense of betrayal the employer felt in relation to her breach of trust. 

Having a long term employee that you believe is full of integrity and worthy of trust is a commendable attribute as an employer but equally, having stringent internal financial controls in place is of paramount importance.

The assumption of trust should never be a priority over good business practice!

What made the employer start asking questions you ask ? Initially it was the discrepancy in her leave entitlements that started the ball rolling.

Forensic Accounting Qld was engaged to undertake a review of these initial discrepancies. 

The investigation, led by Steven Ponsonby, the Director of Forensic Accounting Qld identified a significant number of further anomalies that were then quantified and distilled into a forensic accounting report for provision to the authorities.

Steven has conducted countless financial investigations into matters where it was identified that a breach of trust and lack of internal controls as the catalyst to fraud among small and large business. 

His ability to identify, accurately record and document an analysis of quantum around fraudulent transactions has been proven over and over again.

Stevens’ consistent ability to write clear and concise reports have been instrumental to the legal profession and court systems in Australia.

Steven has appeared many times as an expert witness in the Federal and State Courts of Australia. His conclusions are soundly based and he will testify in any court system on his findings if required.

Help stop fraud in your business and community now. If you SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING !

Steven Ponsonby is a Chartered Accountant FCA, a Certified Fraud Examiner CFE, and an Insolvency Practitioner RITP.  He is also a qualified Fitter and Turner in his earlier days working in the family business.

Steven is the founding Director of Forensic Accounting Pty Ltda leading independent forensic accounting practice, providing forensic accounting services and expertise to a broad spectrum of clients across Australia.

The CFE credential denotes proven expertise in fraud prevention, detection and deterrence.

The ACFE is the world’s largest anti-fraud organisation and premier provider of anti-fraud training and education.

Together with over 80,000 members, the ACFE is reducing business fraud worldwide and inspiring public confidence in the integrity and objectivity within the profession.





Steven Ponsonby is a Chartered Accountant FCA, a Certified Fraud Examiner CFE and Insolvency Practitioner RITP and is the founding Director of Forensic Accounting Pty Ltd, a leading independent forensic accounting practice, providing forensic accounting services and expertise to a broad spectrum of clients across Australia.