The former Clive Peeters payroll manager who stole close to $20M dollars prior to the company being placed into administration, has pleaded guilty to 24 counts of the theft. She is expected to go to jail for the offences that happened over an 18 month period.
Sonya Causer, 39, purchased 44 properties, luxury cars and $17,000 worth of jewellery over an 18-month spending spree. At one stage she was getting a better return on her investments than Clive Peeters was selling consumer electronics goods and appliances.
Sonia Causer arrives at the Victorian Supreme Court Image Courtesy Of The Age
Appearing at the Victorian Supreme Court earlier today, Causer has been credited with contributing to the collapse of the Melbourne-based retailer who was placed into administration in May 2010 with debts of over $150 Million. The business was eventually purchased by Harvey Norman Holdings for $55M.
The court heard she falsified payroll records over a two-year period to obtain the money and then invested the stolen money in a series of properties.
The company’s administrators have managed to recoup about $16 million of the stolen money, the court was told.
According to the ABC, Causer’s lawyer told the court she was totally overwhelmed and terrified by her own actions.The lawyer said Causer was mortified when she learnt the total amount she had stolen.
He argued she started stealing to escape the pressures of looking after two autistic children and a “virtually unemployable” husband.
The court heard she became obsessed with buying and selling real estate and always thought she would make enough money to pay Clive Peeters back.