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VIC Theft and Fraud - Are the Police Doing Their Job Correctly?

Discussion in 'Criminal Law Forum' started by Bruce265, 3 December 2014.

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  1. Bruce265

    Bruce265 Member

    3 December 2014
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    Hi. I need some advice on what is enough evidence for the police to take the next steps in charging an individual, with grounds for prosecution and conviction under criminal law.

    The individual is a CPA and at the time of the alleged actions was married to a member of the Victorian Police Force. They are now separated and not sure what their marital status is at the moment. This individual was a sporting clubs treasurer (volunteer role) and the paid book keeper for a kindergarten.

    The individual has been under investigation by the Victorian police since April 2013 and was being investigated by 2 detectives relating to reports lodged by 2 separate institutions, a sporting club and a kindergarten. Both matters relate to alleged theft and fraud of monies. The sporting club had approximately $20K unaccounted for when the committee officially approached the treasurer with their concerns. The kindergarten is substantially more and has been quoted by various people to be around 2-3 times the amount mentioned above. Both reports have been made via the committee’s presidents with the backing of their committees. The detail provided below relates to the sporting club whom I was president of during the time that the treasurer is alleged to have conducted these crimes.

    The main areas of concern are:

    • Missing cash monies of approximately $8K on 2 separate dates in September 2012 and October 2011. Estimated $4k in cash on both of the above dates. Cheques for $3,700 not deposited for over 5 months. Missing from clubs 2012 presentation day in September 2012 until 19/2/2013.
    • The individual was confronted officially by the committee on 12/2/2013 where 5 committee members were present including two members taking down hand written notes.
    • The missing cash in 2012 was taken after the conclusion of the clubs annual presentation day in September 2012. The individual acting as clubs treasurer set up a table at the front of clubs home base hall with another volunteer (who is willing to be a witness) to receive monies for registrations, uniform sales, raffle and bbq takings. Individual was asked by 3 committee members to bank cash and cheques on numerous occasions between October 2012 and February 2013. At above mentioned meeting on 12/2/2013 individual claimed to still having cash and cheques and agreed to bank these immediately. Three days later cheques were deposited along with and account transfer of $4229.15. This was not a cash deposit. What happened to the cash?
    • The missing cash in 2011 was taken after the conclusion of the clubs annual presentation day in October 2011. The individual acting as clubs treasurer set up a table at the front of the hired hall with another volunteer (who is willing to be a witness) to receive monies for registrations, uniform sales, raffle and bbq takings. At above mentioned meeting on 12/2/2013 individual claimed to have reimbursed the club by cheque or credit card. No such transaction ever occurred. When asked this question again at a further meeting in April 2013 the individual gave a different answer stating that the president was given this money and they stole it.
    • $8,700 credited to the individuals credit card through unauthorised refunds via the clubs Eftpos facility. Only $417 can be justified from invoices supplied later by individual. Other invoices individual supplied in an attempt to justify the credit card reimbursements were already paid by the clubs approved payment method of dual signed cheques. Amounts and dates of invoices do not match amounts and dates that were credited to the individuals credit card.
    • Individual wrote cheque out in cash for $600 signed by themselves and president (President was silly enough to sign some open cheques with treasurer during early stages of treasurers time with club). Cheque image obtained by bank shows individuals initials above the word ‘Cash’ when presented to teller at bank.

    The police have been provided with the following evidence:
    • Bank statements for the relevant periods including before and after treasurers time with club
    • Transaction records of all unauthorised Eftpos refunds to the individuals credit cards
    • Independent audit conducted by accounting firm.
    • Treasurer did not submit financials for 2 years to consumer affairs Victoria
    • All supporting meeting minutes from committee, including hand written notes from meeting with treasurer when confronted with clubs concerns.
    • Others supporting documentation and relevant emails.
    The police finally interviewed the individual in May 2014 and I have since been advised via the current club president that they are dropping the case for the sporting club due to lack of evidence. Although I had been in regular contact with both detectives and the kindergarten from May 2013 to June 2014, during the period of July to September 2014 none of my calls to the detective were being returned. When I finally got through to the detective handling the sporting clubs case he advised me he did not need to talk to me as I was no longer a committee member. The police officer was well aware I had resigned as president in November 2013 and had the current committees backing to remain the point of contact. I have also had no returned calls from the kindergartens president and current treasurer since August 2014. We have since requested a police report due to an outstanding insurance claim which has not been received. That request was made over a month ago. Although the individual has paid some monies back the police have stated to us before they interviewed the individual that that this is actually and admission of guilt that works in their favour.

    The current and previous president in myself are at a complete loss as to how much evidence the police need to progress and why they have dropped this case. I need some opinions on what police procedure / policy is on these matters and what rights we have to an independent review?
  2. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

    27 May 2014
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    I'm not really experienced in this area :(

    Have you considered reporting to IBAC?

    The IBAC Act 2011 (Vic) sets out corrupt conduct as conduct of any:
      • Person that adversely affects the honest performance by a public officer or public body of their functions
      • Public officer or public body that constitutes or involves the dishonest performance of their functions
      • Public officer or public body that knowingly or recklessly breaches public trust
      • Public officer or public body that involves the misuse of information or material acquired in the course of the performance of their role or function, whether or not for the benefit of the public body or person
      • Public officer or public body who conspires or attempts to engage in the above corrupt activity.
    The conduct must, if the facts were found proved beyond reasonable doubt at a trial, constitute an indictable offence.

    I've highlighted two points that seem like they fit your circumstances however I'm not sure they are likely to lead to an indictable offence. I'd have the current Presidents organise a meeting with the detectives/sergeants and suggest they are not doing their job properly and that you insist that the charges be pursued.

    You can always bring a private action against the treasurer for theft.

    Over the last 10 years my faith in the Vic police has taken a dive with the media exposure of the Vic gangland wars/Paul Dale/Police Association protection of corrupt coppers/police bashing of Corinne Horvath with police offenders allowed to stay in the force/crucial evidence missing from police safes/Terence Hodson murder/missing Prison chief David Prideaux.

    My limited experience with police is that they seem to have great latitude in what they will or will not pursue and that it is very much open to corruption and the attitude and beliefs of individual police officers. And you have no real transparency or insight into what strings the copper partner of the treasurer might be pulling behind the scenes.

    Stealing is bad, stealing from a kindergarten is worse.

    Good luck and hope you succeed in getting your money back.
    Sarah J likes this.
  3. Bruce265

    Bruce265 Member

    3 December 2014
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    Thanks Rod, these are options I may persue. Yes I am suspecting some dodgy actions by the police but before I go down that line I am really after someone out there who is an expert in criminal law regarding sufficinet evidence for likely conviction. Before the Police closed ranks on me shortly after the interview they did advise me that the indvidual played hard ball and denied any wrongdoing and that the individual was sticking to their story that I stole some of the money. Police confirmed it was indviduals way of attempting to muddying the waters etc...

    If I can get confirmation from someone who specialises in criminal law and what evidence is required then I have some extra information when we persue a review of the case etc.... and give the police another opportunity to revisit case etc...

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