Category Archives: THEFT STEALING

Over 20 Sydney Uni staff under investigation for finance fraud

The University of Sydney is investigating more than 20 staff for financial misconduct.

Fairfax Media understands the university is auditing expenditure estimated at tens of thousands of dollars for entertainment including birthday cakes, coffees, alcohol,stationery & personal items

The staff being put in the firing line work in student administration and recruitment, which generates in excess of $1 billion a year in revenue for the university.

A spokeswoman for the university told Fairfax Media that 21 staff members were being interviewed in relation to allegations of financial misconduct.

“The University takes any allegation of financial misconduct very seriously,” the spokesperson said.

“At this stage, no formal findings of misconduct have been made against any of the staff members being questioned and the process is continuing”

Fairfax Media understands that staff were contacted a few weeks ago and told they were under investigation.

One staff mperson who spoke on the condition of anonymity said staff had been aghast at the “suggestion they had been stealing from their UNIV. employer”.

“Staff were told on a Friday they would be getting formal correspondence on the Monday, but it was not disclosed as to what the charges were,” the staff member stated.

“It was a phone call that was read from a prepared script.”

Staff made written submissions and some were questioned.

“It was thought that 16 birthday cakes was excessive,” the staff member said. “These were minor misdemeanours at worst. It was about whether taking a student out for a coffee was technically a meeting or classed as entertainment.”

The university spokeswoman said the university’s enterprise agreement insisted that when an allegation is made that employees “are given an opportunity to respond to the allegation before a finding is concluded”.

The turmoil in the student administration department now follows the departure of its Executive Director of Global Student Recruitment and Mobility, Michelle Carlin in September last year. It is not alleged that she is in any way linked to the investigation of her former staff.

“I’m absolutely confident that this high achieving team have nothing to worry about,” Ms Carlin said.

“I’m not sure what the reason behind this is, but it is upsetting to see good people placed under this type of stress when they have just been trying to do the best by the university and their results do more than reflect this.”

Ms Carlin’s boss Tyrone Carlin, who is not related to her, stepped down from his position as deputy vice-chancellor (registrar) late last year to return to teaching and research. It is not alleged his departure is linked in any way as well to the current investigation of staff.

University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor Michael Spence sent an email to staff in October last year saying he had accepted Professor Carlin’s resignation.

“Tyrone has decided to step down from his DVC role at the finalty of this year so he can return to his substantive professorial position within the Business School,” Professor Spence said.

“While it is sad to see him leave his current position, I am very pleased that he will be able to return to his teaching and research, and as such remain a very valuable member of the University community.”

Professor Spence credited Professor Carlin for the great transformation of student administration.

“His oversight of the implementation of a whole of institution student administration team completed the ambitious and demanding agenda of moving student administrative functions from faculties and schools towards an integrated, whole of institution delivery approach,” Professor Spence said.

Fairfax Media sought comment from Professor Carlin, but there was no response from him.

In an unrelated matter, yet another deputy vice-chancellor, Professor Shane Houston, left his position last year. He has commenced legal action over his dismissal as the University of Sydney’s first deputy vice-chancellor for Aboriginal services.

Henry Sapiecha


‘I could put my money under the mattress’

Sabrina Barreiro thought her Commonwealth Bank account would keep her money safe, until her debit card was skimmed.

Sabrina Barreiro always thought keeping her money in a bank account was a safer option than under the mattress.

But after her debit card was skimmed and her bank account cleared of all funds, she began having second thoughts.

Sabrina Barreiro card scammed comw bank image

“My expectations were higher:” Sabrina Barreiro struggled to get her money back after her bank card was skimmed and used illegally. Photo: Christopher Pearce

Fresh from a four-day holiday on the Gold Coast, a five-months pregnant Ms Barreiro logged online to her Commonwealth Bank account to find the $1350 she had put aside  for medical bills had been withdrawn.

“First I checked my wallet to see if I had my card with me, and I did. So I panicked and called the bank,” said Ms Barreiro.

“I checked the transactions online and there had been three withdrawals from an ATM in Punchbowl, taken between the fourth and fifth of April, when I was on the Gold Coast.”

Upon calling the bank, Ms Barreiro, from Bondi, found the consumer process of reclaiming her money would not be as simple as she assumed. The experience left her distressed that she would be unable to pay medical expenses in the final months of her pregnancy.

“They told me they would open an investigation, which was going to take 45 days and I would have to wait until they finished the investigation to get any money back.

“I wasn’t asking for the whole [amount of] money, just give me $300 or something to pay my bills. It was everything I had.”

While unable to work due to health reasons, Ms Barreiro relied on her partner’s income for rent and medical payments.

Counterfeit or skimming transactions are those made with an altered or illegally reproduced card, based on details taken from an existing card. This includes when the information is copied directly from a card’s magnetic stripe.

Detective Acting Superintendent Dave Christey, from the NSW Police Force Fraud and Cybercrime Squad, said the frequency of card skimming had dropped since chip technology replaced the magnetic stripe.

“Over the last couple of years there has been a downward trend. You can put that down to better security measures. Where we are seeing it is occasionally on machines around the metro area and in taxis.”

According to the most recent statistics from the Australian Payments Clearing Association, released last year, counterfeit and skimming fraud dropped by 25 per cent in the six years from 2009.

In 2014, more than $650 billion worth of transactions were made on Australian payments cards, of which 0.06 per cent were fraudulent.

Ms Barreiro said that while she was concerned that her security had been compromised she was more upset about the bank’s response.

“I felt the bank was blaming me, because I didn’t look after my PIN,” she said. “They kept asking, who did you give the PIN  to? Of course I didn’t give it to anyone.

“I could put my money under the mattress, but instead I choose to put it in the Commonwealth Bank … my expectations were higher.”

A spokesperson from the Commonwealth Bank said it was concerned when any customer was the victim of fraudulent activity.


Henry Sapiecha

“Our process is to fully reimburse our customers when they have been legitimately defrauded and our aim is to do this as quickly as possible,” she said.

“On this occasion the correct process was not followed at the time the complaint was made, which led to unnecessary delays.”

After Fairfax Media contacted the Commonwealth Bank, it offered its apologies to Ms Barreiro and fully refunded the disputed charges, including any associated fees.


Theft of $3 million from employer funded clerk Lalaine Agtarap’s $23 million pokie binge

Lalaine Agtarap blew $23m image

DATA entry clerk Lalaine Agtarap has admitted stealing almost $3 million from her employer before using it to turn over a whopping $23 million through poker machines during a gambling spree at leagues clubs and The Star casino.

Henry Sapiecha

hunded dollar notes line