Following an internal investigation at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), the employees were dismissed and the allegations were reported to detectives at NSW Police for allegedly “individually misappropriating funds from internal accounts”.
The police then established Strike Force Woodfull to investigate the allegations against the former bank staff, who were employed in internal operations (rather than at customer-facing branches).
Last month (22 May), detectives arrested a 37-year-old man from Gledswood Hill at Parramatta Police Station and charged him with three counts of dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception.
NSW Police have said that the man was a senior manager at the financial institution and allegedly fraudulently lodged reimbursements from the institution’s internal accounts to personal accounts on more than 90 separate occasions between 2013 and 2018.
The police have said that the banking senior manager’s alleged fraudulent activities totalled $463,240.
Financial Crimes Squad detectives have since recovered some of the property that was allegedly fraudulently purchased, including a TV, a sound bar and 50 console games.
Following further inquiries, last week (28 May), a 48-year-old woman attended Parramatta Police Station and was also charged with dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception.
The woman, from Warwick Farm, was said to be a manager at the bank and is alleged to have conducted 107 fraudulent transactions totalling $64,000 between March 2015 and September 2016.
The police have not suggested that the man and woman were colluding in the alleged fraud.
In a statement, a Commonwealth Bank spokesperson emphasised that the bank has “zero tolerance for any illegal activity and behaviour that undermines [its] Code of Conduct” and would “remove any CBA employee who knowingly does the wrong thing”.
“Where allegations are raised of any wrongdoing by employees, these will be taken seriously and fully investigated.
“Where we identify possible criminal conduct, we refer matters to the police and cooperate with authorities through any investigation,” the spokesperson said.
“No customers were impacted or experienced any financial loss as a result of this issue.”
The two persons arrested have been granted conditional bail and will appear at Parramatta Local Court on 3 July 2019.
Anyone with information that may assist Strike Force Woodfull investigators is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or nsw.crimestoppers.com.au
Strike Force Woodfull is the most recent Strike Force investigation into alleged fraud at a financial institution in the past year.
Earlier this year, the director of a corporate event management firm was arrested for alleged fraud against NAB, after a year-long investigation by NSW Police’s Financial Crimes Squad.
In February 2018, detectives from NSW Police’s Financial Crimes Squad established Strike Force Napthali to investigate allegations of corrupt commissions being paid to Human Group for contracts with NAB.
Annie Kane is the editor of The Adviser and Mortgage Business.
As well as writing about the Australian broking industry, the mortgage market, financial regulation, fintechs and the wider lending landscape – Annie is also the host of the Elite Broker and In Focus podcasts and The Adviser Live webcasts.