Church sues former staffer to claw back cash
THE Uniting Church's Queensland Synod is trying to recover more than a million dollars from a former group accountant for its agencies who was jailed two years ago for fraud.
Kara Schliebs, who was sacked by UnitingCare Queensland (UCQ) for serious misconduct in late 2013, funnelled money into her own bank account, according to a Supreme Court claim.
Schliebs was employed by UCQ - which also runs service agencies Blue Care and UnitingCare Community - for almost two and a half years on an annual salary package of $118,614.
A month after she was sacked, Schliebs was charged, and in 2016 she was jailed for seven years and six months, after pleading guilty to defrauding her employer.
UCQ's claim, filed on May 30, says between July, 2009 and November, 2013, Schliebs caused at least 67 "transactions'' to be paid in her favour.
None were part of any formal loan arrangement, her relocation expenses or her remuneration package.
As a result, UCQ deposited a total of $1,048,244 into Schliebs's bank account before terminating her employment, the claim says.
She later was charged in relation to 60 of the transactions.
UCQ claims Schliebs' conduct was a breach of her contract, a breach of her fiduciary duty and fraud.
It is claimed she either used the UCQ funds to buy assets in her name or jointly with others, transferred the money to other bank accounts, gave the money to someone else to purchase assets or used the money for personal gain.
While still employed by UCQ, Schliebs repaid $19,561 and before her sentence she repaid another $1700.
The claim was filed by Uniting Church in Australia Property Trust (Q), as trustee for the Uniting Church's Queensland Synod, trading as UnitingCare Queensland, on May 30.
UCQ is seeking compensation of $1,028,687 from Schliebs and wants her to account for all the money paid from its funds.
It is also claiming an interest in or equitable charge over all assets, in whoever's name they are owned, representing the funds paid to her.
Schliebs, of Cleveland, who is no longer in prison, is yet to respond to the claim.