Former banker Sara Daizli is facing over 100 fraud charges and is alleged to be the mastermind behind an elaborate syndicate that targeted elderly clients.
The former St George Bank employee had previously been charged with 15 fraud offences, for which she was on bail.
However, further investigation by police led to the additional charges being laid against Ms Daizli as well as a number of other people who are alleged to be co-conspirators.
A number of documents and electronics were seized by police and are being forensically examined.
Bank Employee Charged with Fraud
Sara Daizli, also known as Sara Diaz Sukkar worked for St George Bank and is alleged to have used her position to defraud almost $350,000 from an elderly client's life savings.
The 29-year-old is said to have used her staff access to create an online banking account for an elderly client without their knowledge. She is also alleged to have used her position at the bank to open accounts in the names of fictitious people.
These accounts were used to extract hundreds of thousands of dollars between February 2016 and December 2018.
She was first arrested in December 2020 and charged with 15 fraud offences after police established a strike force to investigate alleged fraudulent activity against St George Bank.
However, after further investigation police allegedly uncovered additional crimes by the alleged syndicate from 2018 onwards.
She was again arrested in October 2021 after detectives raided several properties across Sydney. After raiding Ms Daizli's residence, police seized $400,000 cash, documents and electronic items. They will be forensically examined to determine whether they have any connection to the charges.
The former bank employee was charged with another 112 offences, including using false documents to obtain financial advantage and directing a criminal group.
Co-Accused Also Facing Fraud Charges
Three men were also arrested and taken to various police stations to be formally charged.
A 27-year-old Heckenberg man was charged with 40 offences. Another 37-year-old Liverpool man was charged with 34 offences. He was granted conditional bail to attend Downing Centre Local Court where Liverpool criminal lawyers can appear for him.
Police claim that the men were employed as accountants and used their position to submit fraudulent tax documents to obtain a financial gain.
A 53-year-old Kangaroo Point man was also charged with 33 offences including dishonestly obtain financial advantage by deception. He is alleged to be a former bank manager. The police facts sheet states that he facilitated the use of fraudulent documentation submitted by the syndicate to obtain loans.
Police Release More Details
Police spoke to media outlets and provided more detail about the investigations into the alleged syndicate's activities.
Financial crimes squad commander Detective Superintendent Linda Howlett said, "Police will allege the majority of these offences were co-ordinated by the 29-year-old Sutherland woman, and that she was assisted by other members of the syndicate."
She went on to say, "Investigators will now be thoroughly examining the documentation and other items seized today (Thursday) to ensure any further (alleged) victims or offences are identified."
The case is next listed on 18 November 2021.
Fraud charges in New South Wales fall under the offence of 'Obtaining financial advantage or property by deception' pursuant to Section 192E of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).
The definition of fraud is acting dishonestly to cause a financial advantage or disadvantage.
In order for you to be found guilty of obtaining financial advantage by deception charges, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:
- You received property or a financial advantage, OR
- You caused a financial loss, AND
- The gain or loss was caused by your actions, AND
- Those actions were dishonest. Dishonesty is to be assessed according to standards of ordinary people and requires you to know your actions to be dishonest according to those standards. If an Accused's dishonest actions were not the main cause of the gain or loss then the charge will be dismissed.
The maximum penalty for 'dishonestly obtain financial advantage or property by deception' is 10 years imprisonment when heard in the District Court.
Looking at statistics since 2018, 32% of persons found guilty of this offence were sentenced to some kind of imprisonment. 16% of persons were sentenced to full-time imprisonment. Only 10% of person received no conviction for fraud.
Jail is a real possibility and avoiding a conviction is not easy. Fraud is taken extremely seriously by the Courts. Having the right lawyer makes all the difference in the ultimate penalty you will receive.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.