Wed. May 25th, 2022

A former Commonwealth Bank clerk who stole $ 3.5 million from customers’ accounts in part due to pressure from his abusive girlfriend was unable to avoid jail because of the “extraordinary” amount taken.

Hsin-Yu “Angie” Tsai, 33, was jailed for at least 14 months after admitting to withdrawing $ 2.4 million from a customer and $ 500,000 from a dead woman’s account, including fraud between 2014 and 2015.

Judge John Pickering found that Tsai financed her lavish lifestyle with luxury watches, expensive handbags and a house through the proceeds of crime due to poor judgment and greed.

“One immediately wonders why anyone with a job and knows the risk, why she would think of stealing so extraordinarily much money from the bank,” he said.

But by sentencing Tsai to city court on Friday for a maximum of three years and three months, he noted the extreme greed in her partner’s requests, including $ 30,000 in shoes and clothes and a Ferrari.

“Buying a Ferrari is perhaps the most greedy thing anyone can do by stealing money that is in this world,” he said.

Hsin-Yu Tsai arrives at Downing Center District Court
Former bank clerk Hsin-Yu Tsai has been jailed for stealing $ 3.5 million from customers’ accounts. Credit: AAP

The judge felt genuine sympathy for her suffering at the hands of her emotionally, financially and physically abusive partner and said he exploited and exploited her position for his own financial gain.

But the judge could not ignore the fact that “$ 3.5 million is a lot of money”.

“You can clearly see overall that this was a significant offense.”

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“You can clearly see overall that this was a significant offense.”

Tsai pleaded guilty to three counts of dishonest obtaining financial gain by deception, and one for using a false document.

An investigation was launched after a CBA customer who had earned $ 2.4 million in money he had deposited from South Africa was told he had only about $ 13,000 left in his account.

This led to the revelation that she had previously withdrawn half a million dollars from a woman’s deposit two days after she died in 2014.

Tsai used a degree of sophistication by transferring the money several times to hide their path and location, the court was told.

Millions undiscovered

While working as a customer service specialist at the big bank, Tsai said her partner became overwhelmingly obsessed with materialism and expected lavish gifts such as Swiss watches, designer clothes and a car.

Her parents would regularly send her $ 3,000 a month from Taiwan, and she also had access to their $ 3 million trust fund, which she rarely withdrew without asking, she said as proof.

But she was too scared to ask her parents for financial help to leave her partner.

After they broke up, she got a $ 1 million settlement from their exchange, she used to travel Europe, China and buy an apartment.

Hsin-Yu Tsai leaves Downing Center District Court in Sydney on Wednesday, October 20, 2021.
Hsin-Yu Tsai leaves Downing Center District Court in Sydney on Wednesday, October 20, 2021. Credit: DAN HIMBRECHTS/AAPIMAGE

The judge noted that a “remarkable” aspect of the case was already having stolen millions undetected, after the relationship ended, Tsai continued to work at the bank for another three years until 2019.

“During that time, she did not commit any further fraud or engage in any misdemeanor at all,” he said.

This showed that she had been substantially rehabilitated and matured, and had shown genuine remorse and shame over her insult.

Tsai will not be eligible for parole until December 2022.


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