The Courier-Mail

Boss takes punt on getting $1.5m back

- VANDA CARSON

…wehavea 60-something d, year-old incarcerat­e one bankrupt, with known asset which over it has a mortgage prospects of clawing Solicitor on the

Wendy Aspinall cash back from

A BANKRUPT and once trusted office manager who is serving jail time for stealing $3.2m from her employer to fund her gambling addiction is facing a second bankruptcy.

Wendy Ann Aspinall’s former employer Down to Earth Demolition­s, from Cairns, filed a creditor’s petition in the Federal Court in Cairns late last month asking the court for a sequestrat­ion order against Aspinall’s bankrupt estate. The creditor’s petition says Aspinall owes Down to Earth Demolition­s $1.56m because she failed to comply with a Supreme Court order to pay, made in March 2020.

The then 58-year-old was bankrupted on March 18, 2019, according to the bankruptcy register and is an undischarg­ed bankrupt. If the court grants the sequestrat­ion order, it will mean Aspinall is bankrupted for a second time.

Down to Earth Demolition­s’ lawyer Doug McKinstry said the second bankruptcy was necessary because Aspinall declared herself bankrupt in 2019 before her guilty plea to fraud charges and before a civil judgment was obtained.

The Public Trustee, Aspinall’s bankruptcy trustee, would not accept Down to Earth Demolition­s as a creditor in the first bankruptcy.

In July 2019, Aspinall was sentenced to serve a minimum of three years in prison of an 11-year sentence for embezzling $3.2m through cash withdrawal­s, phony cheques and electronic transfers between 2007 and 2017. Almost $2.9m was lost to poker machines at the Reef

Casino, her sentencing hearing was told. She pleaded guilty to four counts of fraud.

But during a hearing of a civil claim for the stolen money in the Supreme Court last year, Aspinall argued that she had only stolen “about half” of the $3.2m amount she was sentenced for, and she only agreed to plead guilty to stealing $3.2m because she didn’t want to face a trial.

Her crimes were discovered when boss Rohan Murphy from Down to Earth Demolition­s found two blank cheque butts in June 2017.

Mr McKinstry told the civil hearing last year he was aware the prospects of clawing back the stolen cash were “very slim, given that we have a 60-something yearold incarcerat­ed, bankrupt, with one known asset which has a mortgage over it”.

The case is due in court in Brisbane for hearing on May 5.

 ??  ??
 ??  ?? Wendy Aspinall (main) is serving time in a Townsville prison; former employer Down to Earth Demolition­s director Rohan Murphy (inset) has filed a creditor’s petition.
Wendy Aspinall (main) is serving time in a Townsville prison; former employer Down to Earth Demolition­s director Rohan Murphy (inset) has filed a creditor’s petition.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia