‘Devoted’ grandma’s excuse for $33k theft


A "devoted" mother and grandmother stole more than $33,000 from her employer because her colleagues were "rude and unappreciative" and her boss demanded too much of her, a court has heard.

Deborah Toni Schultz, 53, will serve four months behind bars over the theft from her former employer Adcrete Industries, a manufacturing business in Clontarf.

Crown Prosecutor Geoffrey Wong today told the Brisbane District Court that Schultz stole $33,122 from the business when she was the office manager between January 2015 and May 2016.

He said Schultz engaged in 73 instances of stealing funds over a period of 15 months including 40 occasions on which she made unauthorised purchases through the company credit account and business account with Officeworks.

"There were 15 occasions where she reported more hours than she in fact worked and thus took in that regard a total of over $20,000 in funds belonging to the company," Mr Wong said.

"There were also eight occasions when she simply transferred money from the company bank account into accounts belonging to herself and others.

"There was also 10 occasions when she paid an amount of superannuation to herself that was greater than what she was entitled to."

Mr Wong said the theft was not discovered until after Schultz had left the business. The case was brought to police attention in February 2017 and she was charged in late 2018.

Defence barrister Colin Reid said Schultz had placed $20,000 in her lawyer's trust account to compensate the company and her adult children had offered to pay the rest.

Mr Reid said Schultz, who has no criminal history, suffered from depression and anxiety.

"It's devastating, it's devastated her family, her husband is beside himself with worry about his wife in custody," he said.

Judge Vicki Loury QC described Schultz's excuse for the offending as "just extraordinary".

"The explanation for your offending as set out in the psychiatric report is that it seems that you believed that too much demand and responsibility was placed upon you by your employer and that other employees were rude to you and unappreciative of you," she said.

"That provides no explanation at all for why a woman with an otherwise impeccable record would steal more than $30,000 from her employer."

Judge Loury said middle aged women were over-represented in this type of offending.

"There is no suggestion that you stole this money out of need," she said.

"When regard is had to some of the items you purchased using the corporate credit card or the Officeworks account it does not seem that you were motivated by need at all but rather by greed.

"I'm told money that you stole ultimately went to your family."

Judge Loury noted Schultz had also lied to police investigating the matter.

"You were arrested in October 2018 after declining to participate an interview with police," she said.

"You did however say to them you had paid back the personal transactions on the credit card and that one of the payments was for a job that was done. That was untrue."

The court heard Schultz is a mother of four and grandmother of four and Judge Loury said she believed it was "unlikely" the woman would reoffend.

"I have read in another reference that you are described as a devoted mother and grandmother," she said.

"That you have raised four upstanding members of the community."

Schultz was sentenced to two and a half years imprisonment with parole after serving four months behind bars.

"Your conduct involved a very significant breach of trust," Judge Loury told her.

"You were the only person it seems with access to the financial systems of the company. That demonstrates just how trusted you were by your employer.

"Your breach of trust is therefore a significant one. You engaged in many fraudulent actions and stole a significant amount of money.

"And there is as I've said no real explanation for your offending."

Schultz, who pleaded guilty to one charge of stealing by clerks and servants, was also ordered to pay back the money stolen from the business.

"I take into account you have offered compensation and as I said I accept that's demonstrative of your remorse but as your counsel properly recognised you cannot buy your way out of a sentence of imprisonment," Judge Loury said.

Schultz was immediately taken into custody.







Originally published as 'Devoted' grandma's excuse for $33k theft

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