$350K bust: Clerk fronts court over alleged theft
A REAL estate clerk accused of stealing $350,000 from the accounts of a former Hervey Bay agency has fronted court for the first time.
Margaret Joyce Hull arrived at the Hervey Bay Courthouse on Thursday before it even opened, beating the media pack who were eager to hear from the accused thief.
The 64-year-old woman was arrested last month on the back of a 12-month investigation which examined the finances of her former employer, Richardson and Wrench.
She was charged with 90 counts of stealing. Police allege that over at least seven years, she exploited her role to draw money for herself from various accounts.
Standing alongside her lawyer Lesley Powell, Ms Hull's appearance in front of Magistrate Stephen Guttridge was brief.
It was agreed Ms Hull's case needed to go up to the District Court because of the high amount of money allegedly stolen.
"What's the value of the property alleged?" Magistrate Guttridge said.
"$350,000," Ms Powell replied. Ms Hull was not required to enter a plea.
Ms Hull worked for the late Trevor Cecil, a well-loved local auctioneer and philanthropist who died of a sudden stroke in October 2017, for more than two decades.
Police will allege each of the 90 charges relates to a separate transaction the employee made.
As Ms Hull left the court-house, accompanied by two people, she did not provide a comment.
Ms Hull's charges will return to Hervey Bay Magistrates Court on May 30.
Speaking outside Maryborough Police Station yesterday, Detective Senior Sergeant David Harbison said the charges concerned the alleged theft from 12 body corporates while accessing accounts during her normal course of duties.
"She was employed by a real estate agent in Torquay," he said.
"It is alleged she systematically stole monies from body corporate funds."
Det Snr Sgt Harbison said the alleged offending came to light after the death of Mr Cecil.
"It's certainly not alleged that he had any knowledge of these offences," he said.
"On his death this business closed and the body corporate roles were taken over by various other businesses.
"Through the accounting procedures discrepancies were discovered and formal complaints were made to police."
Det Snr Sgt Harbison said the brief of evidence detailing the alleged offences would be substantial.