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Thursday, July 4, 2013

ING accountant steals $43 million

Some stories are stranger than fiction and this is one of them.  Rajina Subramaniam led two lives.  In one life she was a respectable housewife who lived with her husband in the leafy Hills District of Sydney.  In the other she was having secret sex sessions with her ING supervisor  and sometimes threesomes with him and her husband in motel rooms and in her home.  But the thing she will be remembered for is that she holds the record for stealing more money than any other woman in New South Wales history.

The judge said that while the sex was abusive in her mind, it appeared to be consensual.   She was not mentally ill, he said, but had mental disorders that needed intensive counselling because of very low self esteem, brought about in part by sexual abuse during her childhood at the hands of her grandfather and two uncles.

She was an employee of ING Holdings' Sydney office for 20 years and held the position of senior accountant for over a decade.  She started stealing gradually, over a five year period.  In 2004 she stole a modest $72,000 in 21 transactions but by 2009, she was spending money like there was no tomorrow.

She was well known to sales staff at  Paspaley, Chanel, Hugo Boss, Bulgari and Georgio Amarni.  She deposited $7.6 million into Paspaley's account, $98,452 to Chanel and $3.3 million to Bulgari.  Paspaley sold her $16 million worth of pearls.

She used her maiden name to buy seven properties - four apartments in Bondi Beach for $9.35 million and three at Kirribilli for $4.55 million. Just days before her arrest, she settled on a $3.1 million unit in the Sydney CBD.  She never lived in any of her properties, but left them empty or allowed shop assistants she had befriended to stay there.

She was exceedingly generous.  She gave one sales assistant $1.3 million to buy a house and another $245,000 for a deposit on a property.

One of the Kirribilli apartments

She pleaded guilty to 22 counts of obtaining benefits by deception and four counts of dealing with the proceeds of crime.  Police found 21 boxes under her desk, including 600 pieces of designer jewellery. Many of the boxes had never been opened. 

For some reason, she didn't use the money to pay off any of her or her husband's debts.

Subramaniam was sentenced to a maximum of 15 years jail with a minimum of seven years by District Court judge Michael Finnane but yesterday a three-judge panel of the NSW Court of Appeal  reduced her sentence to six years.  She will be eligible for parole on October 3, 2015.