Worker who stole $1.2m from employer to buy ‘nice things’ jailed for more than six years


Updated

October 25, 2018 19:16:00

A Perth office worker who has been jailed for stealing $1.2 million from two small businesses, one of which subsequently went into administration, said she took the money because she “liked to go out shopping, have coffee with friends and have nice things”.

Key Points:

  • Lynette Corrie carried out 389 fraudulent transactions over seven and a half years
  • She had no drug, gambling or financial issues, with her actions branded “bewildering”
  • Her first employer subsequently went into administration due to cash flow problems

Lynette Alison Corrie, 56, pleaded guilty in WA’s District Court to 32 stealing as a servant offences, committed while she was employed as an administration manager at the businesses between November 2009 and June 2017.

The court was told she carried out 389 separate transactions over seven and a half years, transferring money from the businesses’ bank accounts into an account she held jointly with her husband.

She stole a total of $1.218 million which Judge Linda Petrusa said equated to Corrie paying herself an extra $160,000 a year tax free, on top of her $40,000 annual salary.

The court heard Corrie started taking money from the first business, a family-run hardware wholesaler, about a month after commencing work, and continued stealing even after the company went into voluntary administration because of cash flow problems.

Corrie asked for a reference from the first company before starting work with a plumbing and electrical company, where she started stealing again just nine days later.

Judge Petrusa said the impact of Corrie’s offences had been “catastrophic” for the owners of the businesses, saying it had affected their self confidence and their ability to trust people.

When her offences came to light, she was confronted by one of the owners of the business and asked why she did it.

The court heard she replied “life”, but when pressed further told him that she liked, “to go out shopping, have coffee with friends and have nice things”.

Lawyer bewildered by lack of motive

Defence lawyer Tom Percy QC described the case as “bewildering”, saying Corrie had no drug, alcohol, gambling nor financial problems, and seemed to have committed the offences simply to live comfortably.

He said there were no extravagant trips or expensive jewellery involved and Corrie appeared to have spent the money on “everyday expenses, paying bills and shopping”.

“At the end of the day she has very little to show for it,” he said.

Judge Petrusa sentenced Corrie to a jail term of six years and two months, describing the offences as very serious.

“Clearly you have enjoyed a lifestyle well above and beyond what your income could sustain,” she said.

“Having access to that much extra money must have enhanced your lifestyle.”

Corrie had ‘front-row seat’ to witness company’s decline

Judge Petrusa said the two businesses were vulnerable and Corrie had breached the trust the owners had placed in her.

She said she had no doubt Corrie’s theft from her first employer, “made a significant contribution to the failure of the business”, telling her she had “a front-row seat” to watch the decline of the company and the effect it had on the family owners and the other employees, some of whom had lost their jobs.

She described the extent of Corrie’s betrayal as enormous.

Corrie will have to serve just over four years of her six-year-and-two-month sentence before she can be released on parole.

The court heard she has repaid $325,000 of the $520,000 she stole from the second company and today the judge ordered that she compensate the first company for the $698,000 she stole from it.

Topics:

fraud-and-corporate-crime,

law-crime-and-justice,

work,

landsdale-6065,

wa,

malaga-6090

First posted

October 25, 2018 17:57:55



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