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Aussie business couple ruined by fiendishly simple EFT fraud

May 22, 2019 Headline News 1 Comment Email Email

The astonishing ease with which fraud can be committed through electronic funds transfer (EFT) has been highlighted by a cunning scam which has virtually wiped out a couple running a small business.

A bookkeeper has been charged with 250 counts of fraud, ABC News reported, after Brisbane couple Andrea and Brendan Saggers learned that AUD 1 million had been siphoned from their company’s accounts, without the problem ever showing up on bank statements.

The Saggers ran a thriving business selling recreational vehicles – much in demand as a generation of ‘grey nomads’ sets off to tour Australia.

The pitfall they struck involves a seeming loophole in bank EFT procedures. In EFT transactions, banks in Australia are not required to cross-check the account name against the account number and BSB.

In the Saggers’ case, their bookkeeper would allegedly enter the correct account name of the creditor the invoice needed to be paid to, but then type in her own BSB and account number.

When the Saggers viewed their business bank statements, only the name of the creditor would appear, so the couple assumed their bills were being paid.

So what about the creditors? Why didn’t they make a fuss when they weren’t paid?

Perhaps they were paid.

A forensic accountant who spoke to the ABC provided a clue. He said EFT crime was “prevalent” in Australia, and that often in such cases, the person making the EFT payments will actually make two payments.

One payment goes to the contractor or supplier and then another of the same amount is paid to the payer’s own BSB and account number “that looks like it’s legitimising their payment to the supplier or contractor so they’re effectively doubling up the payment”.

Andrea Saggers told the ABC: “We thought that our money was safe, we thought our lives were safe – but it’s destroyed us.

“Our children’s futures are now changed, our lives have changed, and we’ve lost everything.”

The ABC News report giving full details of this sad case can be read on the ABC website here.

Written by Peter Needham

Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. bruce weston says:

    SORRY this story is NOT entirely correct she double paid invoices she was an embezzler – THEY DID SHOW UP ON THE BANK STATEMENT the owners of the business must be really, really lax not to pick up on this – over the many years – To see payments made to suppliers appear twice should have alarm bells ringing -and to not miss $1mill wow it must be some business . Any half decent accounting system would show this up in a second – as I said the owners must never have looked at ANYTHING

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