A cash-strapped bank manager, desperate to follow the affluent lifestyle of his wealthy friends, has been jailed after pleading guilty to stealing nearly half a million dollars from his bank.
Former National Australia Bank manager Andre Andrada, 34, was convicted in Brisbane District Court on Wednesday after pleading guilty to stealing $ 437,000 in a “carefully managed and premeditated” fraud.
Andrada – the son-in-law of former Queensland mayor Allan Sutherland who faces separate misconduct charges – was threatened with bankruptcy in 2015 before being pushed back on a large loan to consolidate debts.
Desperate and fearful of financial ruin, Andrada sought redress from payday lenders before embarking on an elaborate scheme to steal the NAB.
Andrada created 51 business accounts and loans on behalf of existing clients without their authorization before transferring substantial funds in a total of 172 transactions.
“He exploited the trust placed in him in a carefully managed and premeditated manner,” Crown Prosecutor Dejana Kovac told the court.
“He went to great pains to set up the loans, he devised sophisticated methods to avoid detection and he was able to do so thanks to his managerial position within the bank.”
Defense attorney Michael Copely said what started out as a way out of financial ruin turned into Andrada’s way to follow his wealthy friends.
“His group of friends were all successful people who had to have boats, go on vacation abroad and have nice things.
“It’s the kind of lifestyle he wanted for himself.”
It wasn’t until Andrada’s wedding and the birth of his son that he was overcome by the guilt of the scam.
He deliberately extended the line of credit on one of his fraudulent accounts, knowing it would be detected by the bank, before confessing to the scam.
“My client was very uncomfortable with the false image he was presenting to his wife and son,” said Mr. Copely.
“He presented himself as a person with a good job and a successful career in a respectable position in a bank, but at the same time, he knew he was engaged in all this dishonesty.
“He didn’t think he could continue living this double life for the sake of his wife and son.”
Andrada took investigators step by step through his project and even offered advice on how to make the system more secure in the future.
Judge David Kent said Andrada held a senior position in the bank and made more than $ 100,000 a year.
“It kind of makes it harder to understand your offense,” Justice Kent said.
“The proceeds of the offenses were to pay off debts and engage in lifestyle expenses to use the old-fashioned phrase for ‘following the Joneses’.”
Andrada was given a five-year suspended prison sentence effective October 26, 2022.
Associated Australian Press