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Theft from Flight Centre to pay off son’s drug debt

April 12, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

A Flight Centre team leader who embezzled money from one of the chain’s travel agencies to clear her son’s drug debts must repay more than AUD 40,000, a court ordered yesterday.

Sally Anne Walters was sentenced on 44 charges relating to the fraudulent misappropriation of money, the Launceston Examiner reported.

Walters had been working at Ulverstone Flight Centre on Tasmania’s northern coast as a team leader between April 2014 and September 2015, Supreme Court Justice Alan Blow said.

Justice Blow said Walters moved about AUD 46,000 from the outlet into her personal bank account over 17 months, all to pay or reduce her son’s drug debts.

The court heard that the son began using drugs at age 16 and moved on to “ice” (methamphetamine) two years later, running up huge drug debts along the way he could not pay.

When some “very worrying people” started harassing Walters over her son’s debt, she took money that had been paid by Flight Centre customers and instead of depositing it into a business bank account, moved it into a credit card account she held with her husband and created false receipts using her employer’s computerised invoicing system.

Money paid or refundable to over 30 customers was involved, Justice Blow said.

The paper reported that Walters was sentenced for charges including 29 counts of computer-related fraud, seven counts of stealing, six counts of insertion of false information as data, and two counts using a computer with intention to defraud.

Walters’ lack of prior convictions and remorse spared her from prison. She was sentenced to eight months jail but it was wholly suspended on condition she complete 210 hours’ community service and repay AUD 43,063 to Flight Centre Travel Group.

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