Townsville Woman Charged with Allegedly Defrauding Far North Queensland Business of Over $2.5 Million

A North Queensland office manager faces 120 criminal charges in connection with an alleged sophisticated fraud scheme amounting to over $2.5 million, carried out over six years.

Authorities allege that the 50-year-old woman from Townsville embezzled funds from a business in Tully, a small town south of Cairns, between 2017 and 2023.

The alleged fraud was uncovered after the business owner reported suspicious financial activity to the police last year.

Acting Superintendent Kevin Goan described the alleged crimes as involving “a significant amount of deceit.”

“Police will allege that the woman used her position to take several measures, including relocating funds and altering business documents, such as payroll information, to commit the offences,” he stated.

A year-long investigation led to searches of several properties and businesses in Tully and Brisbane, where officers seized electronic equipment and financial documents.

“The impact of the [alleged] fraud affects multiple businesses,” Goan added.

Detective Inspector Kevin Goan noted that the alleged fraud was discovered during an audit conducted by the business.

The charges include over 100 counts of stealing, 13 counts of computer hacking and misuse, and several counts of fraud involving amounts of at least $100,000.

Superintendent Goan did not disclose the specific business or industry involved or how the woman allegedly spent the money.

“We’re going back to recapture what measures the person put in place to try and hide the falsification of records to gain a benefit,” he explained.

He believes the woman acted alone.

“To have amassed $2.5 million over a six-year period is obviously a significant detriment to the business and to others with whom that business had dealings,” Goan said.

Superintendent Goan advised all businesses to be vigilant.

“If you think something is not right, then you need to take the necessary steps to ensure that your practices are safe and that you are not being defrauded,” he urged.

The woman was arrested in Townsville on June 5 and is scheduled to appear in the Townsville Magistrates Court on August 12. She is not currently in police custody, and investigations are ongoing.

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