Fraudster gets jail for $1.2m embezzlement

| March 26, 2012

A Canberra man who embezzled almost $1.2 million from the Catholic Church has been sentenced to six and half years.

Chief Justice Terence Higgins has ordered fraudster Timothy Patrick Cousins to serve a non-parole period of four years, two years of which will be served as weekend jail.

Over the space of seven years, Cousins defrauded $1.19 million from his long-time employers, the Catholic Education Office of the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn.

The senior payroll officer used his high level access to create fictional employees, reopen the accounts of former employees and, on some occasions, disguise his transactions as stipends paid to nuns and priests.

Detectives, eventually tipped off by an anonymous letter, managed to track the 51-year-old swindler's digital paper trail all the way to bank accounts in Thailand. Some of the money was apparently used to buy land and build a house in Thailand.

Police say Cousins confided in his daughters after he was found out, describing the fraud as being ''like gambling'' and saying he could not stop.

Cousins' undoing was an anonymous letter, slipped into a yellow envelope and then delivered to the office's Manuka headquarters in October 2010.

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Category: Church Security

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