The mother who stole millions from retailer Clive Peeters is believed to have left Victoria. Calls to her mobile earlier today went unanswered as the mother of three fled with her children and husband.
Seven months after starting work at retailer Clive Peeters Sonia Causer who was on a base salary of $125,000 started snapping property and in a space of two years she had amassed $20M dollars worth of real estate assets using funds stolen from the Melbourne based retailer.
Documents lodged with the Victorian Supreme Court reveal that the theft only came to light after one of her colleagues, another Clive Peeters accountant, noticed a $2 million variation between two company ledgers.
Within 48 hours the company, working with accountants Deloitte, discovered that the hole was not $2M but $7M. This later grew to $20 million.
In blatant attempt to hide her criminal activities, the mother of three children offered to help the company’s auditors, Deloitte, in the investigation of her own fraud.
When she realised that her actions were about to be discovered, Causer then admit to Clive Peeters management she had falsified several financial documents.
Ms Causer initially claimed she had only falsified entries in an accounting ledger to ”help the company”.
In a meeting with Clive Peeters CEO Greg Smith, the woman later broke down and admitted her crimes.
Sonya Causer, 38, had in a space of two years spent the equivalent of a year’s company earnings secretly compiling a portfolio of over 43 properties which Supreme Court documents reveal included a house in Balwyn North worth $995,000 and one in Surrey Hills worth $925,000.
Five of the houses were purchased in Brisbane and one in Tasmania. All of these properties have now been seized by Clive Peeters.
She also spent $166,500 on three cars, including a luxury $105,000 Audi four-wheel-drive, a Holden station wagon which she paid $61,000 for and a Toyota LandCruiser.
Now serious questions are being asked as to how the theft of such large sums of money was made from right under the noses of Clive Peeters management. Questions are also being asked as to why Clive Peeters has not called in the Police to investigate the offences which would attract a 5 year jail sentence if Causer was convicted.
Causer who had worked for Clive Peeters for three years, was able to transfer company money to her bank account, and those of her company, M & S Business Enterprises, between November 2007 and June this year because she was a signatory to the company’s account, as a senior member of the finance team. Her theft was not immediately apparent because she attempted to cover her trail by changing financial records.