Financial planner jailed for $300k fraud
A SENIOR manager at a Brisbane financial planning firm has been jailed for stealing almost $300,000 from her clients.
Emma Maree Radke, 42, a former senior manager at a Brisbane financial planning company, used the $294,000 she pilfered from client accounts to gamble, losing at least $183,000 on poker machines at a Coorparoo leagues club.
Crown prosecutor Christopher Cook said Radke was fired in January last year after 17 years with the financial group after management discovered she'd redirected $294,000 of client's money into her own bank account.
He said when Radke began taking the money, she was a senior manager and was trusted to have access to client's accounts to pay invoices.
Company investigators found she redirected client fee payments totalling $152,000 to her own account on 226 occasions between January 2017 and December 2017.
They also found Radke had directed 57 client transfers to her own account, totalling $142,000 between February 2017 and December 2017.
"The police asked her what led to this and she said this: 'I've been wracking my brain over what's triggered it and I really can't find a reason besides being totally depressed and unhappy'," Mr Cook said.
The court heard Radke used a banking security token belonging to a former employee and blank payment forms that were pre-signed to take control of the money.
During the company investigation, Radke admitted to the transactions and co-operated with the officers inquiries, explaining to them she was addicted to gambling on poker machines which started at the same time as the offending.
Later police investigations confirmed she had lost $183,000 on poker machines at a leagues club in Coorparoo.
Radke today pleaded guilty in Brisbane District Court to two counts of fraud and was sentenced to six years' imprisonment with parole release in December, 2020, after she has served 20 months behind bars.
Judge Bernard Porter said it could not be overlooked that Radke was a "very senior and trusted employee, trusted sufficiently to be given one half of the power to unilaterally take money from the accounts of clients."
Upon her termination, Radke admitted she would not be able to pay for the funds, but surrendered $12,000 of accrued leave entitlements.
Judge Porter said while the company was able to claim the funds on insurance, it suffered other interest losses.