A woman has been jailed for taking $1.2 million from a salary sacrificing company that counts the Queensland government as its major client.
A woman who helped manage salary sacrificing for Queensland’s public servants siphoned more than $1 million to feed her gambling addiction.
Brisbane woman Diane Elaine Stynis avoided detection for seven years while she worked at financial services company RemServ, a court has heard.
RemServ manages salary sacrificing contracts for the Queensland government and other clients.
US-born Stynis, 59, was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment for fraud in the District Court in Brisbane on Monday.
She was a compliance officer at the company where she pilfered almost $1.2 million from hundreds of employees’ salary sacrificing accounts between 2003 and 2010.
The gambling addict’s favourite method was identifying inactive and closed accounts that still contained money and transferring the cash to herself.
Many of RemServ’s closed accounts contained unclaimed money from the tax office.
Company policy was that outgoing payments needed to be signed off by two managers, but Stynis got around it by forging documents.
She made almost 400 illegal transactions in total in what crown prosecutor Carly Whelan called “calculated and systemic” offending.
The company was audited twice yearly but Stynis, whose job was to balance the trust accounts, made sure the books always added up.
The fraud wasn’t detected until after she’d left the company in 2010 when an audit picked up a strange payment and further investigation revealed the full extent of the losses.
Stynis gambled most of the stolen money away as well as her own savings and superannuation to feed her severe habit.
Defence barrister Craig Eberhardt called it a “tragic tale of longstanding, unidentified depression and gambling addiction”.
RemServ had to compensate all affected clients but recovered all but $250,000 of the stolen money in insurance.
District Court Justice Kerry O’Brien said Stynis’s gambling addiction explained her offending but didn’t excuse it.
He sentenced her to eight years’ imprisonment but said she could apply for parole earlier than usual, after two-and-a-half years.