Email to boss after fraud exposed

Email to boss after fraud exposed

A woman jailed for more than $270,000 of fraud emailed her boss to say she was “unwell” and resigned 20 minutes after the company found out about her crimes.

Allison Egar, 45, was sentenced at Coffs Harbour District Court on Thursday for two counts of dishonestly obtaining property by deception.

Judge Phillip Mahony convicted Egar and jailed her for three years with a non-parole period of 18 months.

The agreed facts state Egar defrauded two separate employers intermittently over four years.

The first was between October 2013 and October 2015 when she worked as a practice manager at Coffs Coast Skin Cancer and Wound Clinic.

Egar was in charge of billing and collection, and paying wages, among other office tasks.

She used the MYOB accounting software to create 71 false invoices to a supplier, totalling a difference of $146,261.16 from what they had been billed for the previous two financial years.

“These were created by the offender by altering the invoice numbers or duplicating invoice numbers, and including her bank details,” the facts state.

“A forensic accountant was engaged to conduct an analysis of the records, together with the personal accounts and credit cards of the offender.”

A skin doctor there — who Egar had been in a relationship with during some of her offending — had become concerned about the financial viability of the business but Egar “blamed the practice’s financial position on business decisions involving other staff”.

Egar was not arrested and charged until she went to Tweed Heads police station in May 2018.

In that time, she worked as an office manager and financial controller at Affirmations Publishing House where she was responsible for bank reconciliations, invoicing and accounts.

The facts state Egar had described herself in her resume as “a trusted leader and manager”.

An investigation was initiated by the company’s accountants after a notable increase in money going out of the business.

Egar tendered her resignation but it was agreed she could work for them remotely from a Brisbane address.

She continued her pattern of fraud and found a loophole in which the company’s bank was not enforcing the requirement of two signatures on payments.

Egar’s crime spree ended on September 22, 2017.

“The manager was notified of those fraudulent transactions by email on September 28, 2017,” Judge Mahony said in his sentence remarks.

“On the same day, some 20 minutes later, the offender sent an email stating that she was unwell and was resigning from her employment.”

When she handed back her laptop the following month, Affirmations realised Egar had been able to access her boss’s emails.

“The inference arising that the offender was aware at the time she resigned … of the email by which the manager was notified of her fraudulent actions,” Judge Mahony said.

She had pocketed $124,871.80 in five separate accounts — to an elite private school, a veterinary service and various bank accounts in her name including one for a credit card.

Judge Mahony described Egar’s first offence as a “gross breach of trust”.

“It was motivated by greed, in the sense that she was living beyond her means, and a misplaced sense of entitlement arising from her relationship with her employer,” he said.

The judge said the sophisticated and planned offending at Affirmations was also an “abuse” of the trust that had been placed in Egar.

He acknowledged she had been assessed as having symptoms of borderline personality disorder but there was no evidence it affected her work “in a responsible business position”.

She had confessed her guilt to the manager of Affirmations but had not done so to the doctor.

“Further, the confession was made in the face of what must have been a strong case, given that her fraud had been uncovered and that she was aware of it,” Judge Mahony said.

Egar was entitled to a 25 per cent discount to her sentence for her early guilty plea and will first be eligible for parole in February 2021.

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