File image of a shipping container
File image of a shipping container Stuart Cumming

Woman stole $168k from explosive company

A NEW Zealand-born woman fraudulently obtained $164,900 through sales while working for a Central Queensland explosives business.

Leala Fane Roskilley, 43, pleaded guilty in Rockhampton District Court yesterday to one count of fraud as an employee.

Crown prosecutor Tiffany Lawrence said the money was obtained through 52 transactions for 70 shipping containers that use to store explosives from eight customers between March 26, 2015, and July 11, 2017.

Roskilley had been working for Incitec Pivot Ltd at Bajool for eight years and nine months before her offending was detected and her employment terminated on October 31, 2017.

Incitec Pivot had imported the explosives from overseas and stored them in the shipping containers.

Ms Lawrence said part of Roskilley's role at Incitec Pivot was to take details of customers interested in purchasing  the shipping containers for $2500 each and pass the information onto her supervisor to facilitate the sale.

"The defendant ... later sold those shipping containers for her own personal gain," she said.

"Effectively she would receive calls and instead of referring those details on to her superiors, she would retain carriage of the sale, provide the purchasers with her own bank details which the funds were deposited into.

"The defendant would generally sell the containers for $2500 each but there were occasions where she would accept a lower price when negotiations occurred if she was desperate for money at the time."

Judge Michael Burnett raised issues with how the customers/truck drivers would be able to pick up the containers with truck drivers requiring paperwork for such a load.

"So some paperwork must be generated to permit people to take these things offsite," he said.

Judge Burnett said these organisations were required to keep this material at secure sites that "not just anybody can walk into".

Ms Lawrence said it was unclear if there was further investigation into the paperwork.

She said Incitec Pivot was also out of pocket for transport costs of $3,133.60 linked to the offending, resulting in the total amount lost by the company of $168,033.60.

It's not the first time Roskilley has been convicted of fraud.

Yesterday the court was told that in September 2007, she was convicted in the Magistrates Court of fraud after failing to disclose income to Centrelink, which resulted in her being overpaid by the government agency about $7500 over 18 months, despite notification reminders to disclose income.

Ms Lawrence said Roskilley told police the offending was motivated by financial hardship of her family, which includes four New Zealand-born children aged 17-24, not eligible for Centrelink benefits, and two grandchildren.

Defence barrister Jordan Ahlstrand said Roskilley had been in a defacto relationship prior to the offending and her de facto had a high income.

He said when that collapsed, she felt financial stress.

Mr Ahlstrand submitted many reference letters to the court which Judge Burnett took issue with, saying none mentioned knowledge of Roskilley's previous fraud conviction and most stating they had only known her a few years, including a psychologist's report where Roskilley lied to the professional.

"If she's prepared to lie to her psychologist about previous convictions, goodness only knows what else she's willing to lie about," he said.

"It's an unfortunate fact we have to be more cynical of these people.

"She plainly is someone with a dishonest personality given her history."

Judge Burnett adjourned the sentencing overnight, requesting further information be provided to the court.



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