Former NAB chief of staff Rosemary Rogers has been sentenced to a maximum of eight years in prison, with a non-parole period of four years and nine months, after the NSW district court found her guilty of having approved huge invoices from event management company Human Group.
The case, which was first brought to light in 2019 after concerns were raised by a whistleblower, relates to breaches that took place between 2013 and 2017.
The Human Group had reportedly issued a series of invoices totalling approximately $43.4 million for consulting services purportedly provided to NAB as part of a scheme that was alleged to have been devised by Human Group, its director Helen Rosamond, and Ms Rogers in a bid to defraud the bank.
NAB alleged that Ms Rosamond (who has denied the charges laid against her and is facing a separate trial in July for her alleged role in the offending) was arranging for the invoices to be issued and sent to NAB, which Ms Rogers then was ensuring were paid.
The bank also asserted that 57 “secret commission payments” were made by Ms Rosamond and/or Human Group to Ms Rogers between 2013 and 2017.
It was estimated that Ms Rogers received around $5.4 million worth of benefits. She has reportedly already repaid more than $4 million.
After pleading guilty to many of the offences laid against her, Ms Rogers was sentenced to a maximum term of eight years by the court.
In his sentencing remarks, Judge Paul Conlon said he found it “absolutely staggering that this fraud was not detected by some appropriate system of internal auditing by NAB”.
“All that was required was for Human Group to submit invoices that were devoid of detail and the offender would merely approve them courtesy of her delegated authority.”
Speaking after the sentencing, NAB’s chief legal counsel, Sharon Cook, said: “NAB has assisted NSW Police with its enquiries throughout the investigation, and we are pleased this part of the matter is now resolved.
“The issue was first reported by a whistleblower, and I thank them for coming forward and alerting us to this illegal activity, enabling NAB to investigate thoroughly and refer it to the police.
“NAB has zero tolerance for any criminal activity. Where criminal conduct is identified, we will refer it to the police.”
Touching on the audit/oversight issues raised by the judge, Ms Cook added: “Since becoming aware of the issue, we have made changes to strengthen controls in our organisation, including changing delegations and introducing additional checks on expenses.
“As there is a second party involved who is still before the court, NAB is unable to comment further on this matter.
“We are taking court action to recover the proceeds of the alleged fraud.”
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.