Bank silent on employee theft

JOHN EDENS
Last updated 18:01 06/08/2014

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A major bank has refused to say whether internal procedures were reviewed after a former Queenstown employee was sent to jail for stealing $400,000.

Jenna Lee Robinson, 29, appeared before Judge Michael Turner in Queenstown District Court last month for directly accessing a computer bank system to set up 16 fictitious accounts with loan and overdraft facilities, and five counts of theft on dates between August 2010 and July last year.

Robinson, who was sentenced to two years and seven months in jail, worked at the bank for six years and rapidly progressed up the career ladder to the position of business banking relationship manager.

Judge Turner suppressed reporting of the bank's identity and another financial institution in Queenstown. Robinson left her job after being headhunted and poached by another bank. She used the money to buy a house and pay for holidays, repay credit card debt and buy home furnishings.

The Mirror asked: whether the bank introduced any new procedures given the scale and length of the offending; whether any checks and balances were introduced; whether the bank was confident similar offending could not happen again; and whether staff were offered counselling.

However, a bank corporate affairs spokesman said the institution was unable to respond to questions.

''I'm sorry but given that the judge has suppressed identity in this case, it would not be appropriate for us to comment.''

The court was told Robinson's colleagues were ''sickened'' and ''stunned'' when the offending was uncovered. 

The judge referred to sentencing reports that noted the defendant was ''living the dream'' in Queenstown, happily married with a house and well-paid job.

''One consequence was to cast a shadow on the whole banking team of the [victim] bank in this area. 

''Your colleagues felt guilty because they did not see what was happening and were angry because you lied to them and manipulated them. 

''They felt as if they were unwilling accomplices in your offending. 

''There was an enormous breach of the trust you held in a responsible position.''

Her lawyer Nic Soper said a forensic psychologist's report identified it was likely that Robinson was suffering from schizoid personality disorder but she fully accepted her responsibility and culpability.

Robinson was a gifted student and a highly-regarded employee with career prospects. She was poached by another financial institution in Queenstown and after the job change her offending was discovered by investigators.

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- The Southland Times

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