Financial controller stole $7,337,282

July 23, 2020 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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The former financial controller of Sydney’s Moriah College was described as a thief in Sydney’s Supreme Court where he was ordered to repay $7,337,282 stolen from the school between January 2004 and March 2019.

Moriah College

Judge David Hammerschlag heard that “it did not take Gus long to start stealing from Moriah. He stole $5,000 on 22 December 2004, $1,250 the next day and $2,674 on 29 December 2005. He stole $50,304 on 25 January 2005, and kept on stealing on an almost daily basis for the next 14 years, sometimes six-figure amounts at a time. His thefts went undetected until 2019”.

Between July 30, 2015 and March 4, 2019, Costi diverted ATO refunds due to Moriah to the tune of $3,965,893 into two personal accounts.

The money was used to satisfy Costi’s gambling addiction with the court hearing that he was known to spend lunchtime break from Moriah by gambling in local clubs and pubs.

The judge ordered Costi’s wife Melynda to pay back $77,905 to Moriah.

The judgement states that 57-yr-old Gus Costi Gus “may have worked as an accountant, but he did not have any tertiary qualifications”.

The hearing ran for three days remotely.

This was a civil case and Costi has been charged by the police and will face criminal proceedings.




6 Responses to “Financial controller stole $7,337,282”
  1. Lawrence Muscat says:

    The Board must resign and a forensic audit undertaken to uncover how this fraud occurred.
    Once answers are presented and new controls implemented, a new board can be elected, which may include the current incumbents should they wish to stand for re-election.

  2. Harvey Bock says:

    The HR department were fast asleep in employing someone with no tertiary qualifications as the senior accountant.
    Perhaps the HR department should be investigated for incompetence and complacency !!

  3. Jonathan Benjamin says:

    Where is the board’s responsibility for what has happened?

    Have they reflected on the lack of oversight over the period of the incident?

    All we have heard from the board so far is the same that we hear from the media, but later.

    • Adrian Jackson says:

      I was about to write the same but Jonathan beat me to it. Perhaps some of the men on the board need to be replaces with financially savvy women.

      • Rafi Plotkin says:

        Agreed , the Board should step down until an investigation is undertaken.
        The HR Department is also to blame for employing an unqualified person

  4. Henry Michaels says:

    Once again the question arises concerning the lack of diligence and care applied by the school Board of Directors and the external auditors.
    An independent inquiry should be established to look at how it was possible for such a large and ongoing fraud to have been committed.
    The Board seem to be nothing less than incompetent and unaware of their fiduciary duties.
    The President should hang his head in shame that a very unsophisticated fraud occurred under his watch, and what’s more during the period that he was the so called financial director !!!

    The Board should resign pending an investigation into the modus operandi of this fraud !

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