OFW bookkeeper in Australia charged with stealing A$3.5 million from a cruise company

The Sydney Morning Herald reported lately a Filipino woman in the person of Mary Ann Abellanoza, 53 years old and working as a bookkeeper, was charged after she was accused of stealing A$3.5 million (P127.2 million) from Silversea Cruises in an allegedly “deliberate and calculated fraud” committed for more than four years in the company’s Sydney office.

According to Sydney Morning Herald, two separate legal cases were filed against Mary Ann Abellanoza.  These are a criminal case before the Downing Center Local Court and a civil case filed by the cruise company before the New South Wales (NSW) Supreme Court (SC).

On a court trial, it learned that Abellanoza, transferred $3.5 million into seven bank accounts under her name, while she was branch accounting supervisor. She used a downloadable generator to make fake invoices.

“Ms. Abellanoza fell under suspicion in February 2018, when she told a senior executive she had fallen victim to an online scam and offered to reimburse the company,” Sydney Morning Herald said.

The Sydney Morning Herald added, “An investigation by a forensic accountant uncovered the alleged discrepancies, an expert telling the court that the size and frequency of the transactions was ‘indicative of a deliberate and calculated fraud.’”

The report also said that Abellanoza received perks from working in Silversea Cruises.  One of which was a free voyage each year on of the cruise company’s vessels as part of her employment benefits.

While the court had ruled that Silversea could do any legal means to recover from Abellanoza the money she allegedly stolen, it decided, however, that the company could only recover A$1,829 from Abellanoza’s husband, Perven.  He allegedly received $811, 565.

The Sydney Morning Herald said that Justice Sackar believed Perven Abellanoza’s testimonies: that his wife’s newfound wealth was ‘pure luck’ after she engaged in a habit of seven-days-a-week gambling.

Additionally, Mr. Abellanoza, who worked in refrigeration, is not guilty of any criminal charges.  He told the court that his wife was the one in charge of their household expenses and that he did not know how to use an ATM.  He also said that he did not have any gambling experience because he believed it was ‘bad luck.’

Silversea, however, does not believe Perven’s version of the story and is appealing the court that Perven had “willfully shut his eyes to the obvious” or “recklessly failed to make such inquiries as an honest and reasonable person.” – LMI

Source:  Pinoy OFW



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