Trusted bank staffer jailed for $130k fraud
A bank officer who ripped off almost $130,000 over five years, spending most of the bank's money buying products advertised on television shopping channels, has been jailed.
Annette Marie Granic, 44, who worked for Credit Union Australia for 16 years, has not been able to repay any of the money.
Granic pleaded guilty in Brisbane District Court to defrauding $129,185 from Credit Union Australia between January 2014 and March last year.
She also pleaded guilty to a charge of computer hacking to gain a benefit.
The court heard Granic was a highly trusted employee who had worked her way up within the bank to the position of operations officer, with responsibility for reconciliation of ledgers.
Granic used unwitting staff to divert money belonging to her employer between accounts, taking "substantial and significant steps'' to cover transactions to avoid detection, the court heard.
"It was sustained, calculated and sophisticated conduct, including recruiting others within the organisation to assist you and using other computers to do it,'' Judge Rowan Jackson said.
While CUA had promoted her, Granic had repaid that by systematically taking money and falsifying records, the judge said.
The fraud was first uncovered by a CUA financial crime investigators and she was stood down in May, last year, and later sacked.
While Granic first came up with a false excuse for some transfers, when fronted with some evidence she told investigators: "This was where I made my mistake, because I'm an idiot."
Crown prosecutor Shauna Farrelly said Granic spent the money on food for her family and team members, but mostly on shopping on television sites.
Defence counsel Liam Dollar said Granic, who would not park in a wrong space or pinch a supermarket grape, still questioned how she could have done something so much worse.
He said she had been under stress at work the time of the offending and she also had to care for a partner of 17 years, who was often unable to work because of health issues.
She could not sleep and ending up spending the majority of money on purchases from television shopping networks.
Mr Dollar said Granic got to the stage when work overwhelmed her, she "snapped'' and got into a hole that she did not know how to get out of.
He said she was remorseful and deeply ashamed.
Judge Jackson said Granic's offending was serious, calculated, deceitful and hard to detect.
After considering psychological reports, he accepted that Granic, a victim of childhood abuse, might find prison more difficult than it would be for others.
He sentenced Granic to four years' jail, suspended after 12 months, but operational for five years.
He ordered that Corrective Services be given Granic's psychological reports, to assist with her treatment in prison.
Originally published as Trusted bank staffer jailed for $130k fraud