‘Chronic gambler’s’ shock multi-million dollar debts revealed
JAILED fraudster Wendy Aspinall tipped more than $30 million down the Reef Hotel Casino pokies in six years, including more than $3 million belonging to her boss.
The "chronic gambler" was running at a loss of almost $2.9 million when she was finally busted in mid-2017 and was handed an 11-year jail sentence - to serve at least three years - in July.
The full details of her debts can now be revealed by the Cairns Post after her former boss Rohan Murphy, the owner and operator of Down to Earth Demolitions, filed a civil claim to try to get back some of the money he is owed.
Her greed and deception nearly sent the small Portsmith family business broke and took place for more than 10 years - almost the entire time she worked there.
Initially hired as a casual administration assistant, she earned her employer's trust, becoming office manager and responsible for the accounts payable.
She was held in such high esteem she was allowed to manage the business accounts, had possession of a bank token and from 2010 was an authorised signatory on the accounts.
According to documents filed in the Cairns Supreme Court, Mr Murphy first became suspicious in June 2017 when he noticed blank cheque butts in the company cheque book.
She told him she was yet to complete them and he left the room.
"Shortly afterwards, on returning to the business office I found (Aspinall) had left the office (seemingly for good), leaving her office keys and bank access token on her desk," Mr Murphy said in an affidavit.
In two subsequent phone calls she admitted writing two cheques for herself and that she had "shredded" some missing cheque books.
"I asked her whether she had cashed all the cheques she claimed to have shredded and she responded words to the effect that she would answer my questions the following afternoon. I never heard from (her) again."
Mr Murphy called the police and what they found was damning.
The 56-year-old had drawn and signed no less than 333 cheques to cash at the bank and generated 1500 payments to fake creditors she had set up in the company's computer system, including one entitled W Aspinall Creditors.
In one month alone she stole $50,000.
Her dodgy dealings almost brought the business to its knees.
And despite multiple "jackpot" wins at the casino, along with a $60,000 Mercedes, she made no effort to repay the debt.
For her efforts she was handed an 11-year jail sentence in what was believed to be the largest detention sentence for fraud in Far North history. She will be eligible for parole in 2022.