Payroll Fraud Case: Woman Spends Stolen Cash on Candy Crush

A woman has admitted to defrauding her employer, a mushroom farm, of over $1 million, with a significant portion of the stolen funds, approximately $180,000, being squandered on the mobile game Candy Crush. Allison Simmons, aged 52, pleaded guilty to seven counts of theft, detailing her scheme to siphon funds over a six-year period while employed as a payroll officer at Merbein Mushrooms in Victoria’s northwest.

Beginning in 2013, Simmons initiated unauthorized payments to her personal bank account through the company’s payroll system, accumulating $279,496 by 2019. Additionally, she orchestrated 435 transactions, totaling $884,423, funneling funds to various other accounts before ultimately redirecting the money to herself, resulting in a total theft of $1,163,919 by 2019.

The fraudulent activities were unearthed when another employee noticed irregularities in payments and alerted management. An investigation, prompted by fears of a security breach, revealed Simmons’ manipulation of the payroll system. She had altered bank details of fellow employees to route funds to her accounts.

In court, it was disclosed that Simmons withdrew approximately $203,000 in cash and spent around $181,000 on Facebook games, predominantly Candy Crush. Additionally, she expended $86,000 on retail purchases and transferred $151,000 to family members using the embezzled funds.

Simmons attempted to deflect blame by asserting that her actions were sanctioned by the company director, who purportedly requested cash withdrawals. However, this claim was refuted by the director.

Both the prosecution and defense agreed that Simmons should face imprisonment for her offenses. However, her defense lawyer emphasized her history of depression, arguing that incarceration would exacerbate her condition. The prosecution countered that any exacerbation of her mental health condition due to imprisonment was speculative.

Judge David Sexton expressed concern over Simmons’ apparent lack of remorse and revoked her bail. She awaits sentencing, which will be determined later.



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