Friday 10 February 2012

A TRUSTED accountant who fleeced $45 million from financial group ING Holdings has been jailed for at least seven years.


Rajina Rita Subramaniam splurged the money on lavish products, including jewellery which she never wore, and numerous expensive properties, all of which remained vacant except for one, for which she did not charge rent. In sentencing her in the NSW District Court in Sydney today, Judge Michael Finnane described as "staggering" the sheer size of the amount she stole from ING over a five-year period. The 42-year-old, from Castle Hill in Sydney's northwest, pleaded guilty to 22 counts of obtaining benefits by deception and four counts of dealing with the proceeds of crime. When police went to her workplace, they found 21 boxes stored under her desk and nearby. "When these boxes were searched, police found large quantities of jewellery, fountain pens, champagne, crystal and Michael Jackson memorabilia," the judge said. "Much of the jewellery was still in boxes that had not been opened." The judge said that outwardly, Subramaniam was leading a normal life with her husband in a suburban house and none of the money was used to pay off any of their debt. "The agreed facts demonstrate that she became accepted as a wealthy woman and a very desirable customer of a number of large jewellery firms," the judge said. At times she would spend millions of dollars in a single lunch hour and she lavished gifts on the shop assistants. "Each of them received commissions for sales to her, and giving presents to them, in my opinion, is consistent with her wanting to be accepted and praised," Judge Finnane said. "Her gifts of $1.3 million to one shop assistant and something like $240,000 to another shop assistant are consistent with her wanting to be loved and accepted." The judge said everything she did in stealing the money and using the proceeds "points to someone who got gratification from being able to be thought of as wealthy and generous". He referred to her having frequent sex with an ING supervisor and to her husband's statement that he joined in the sexual activity, which sometimes happened between them in motel rooms or at their home. Subramaniam claimed to police that the frequent sexual intercourse she had with the employee at work was part of her ill treatment by staff. "She claims that part of the reason for engaging in fraud was resentment towards ING and her wanting revenge," the judge said. The judge said while the sexual activity may have been abusive in her mind, it appeared to have been consensual. While she was not mentally ill, she had mental disorders that needed intensive counselling, he added. He set a maximum term of 15 years.