QLD_CP_SPORT_GOLF_23JULY19
QLD_CP_SPORT_GOLF_23JULY19

Demolition company chasing bankrupt $3m fraudster

A bankrupt and once trusted office manager who is serving jail time for stealing $3.2m from her employer to fund her gambling addiction is facing a second bankruptcy.

Wendy Ann Aspinall's former employer Down to Earth Demolitions, from Cairns, filed a creditor's petition in the Federal Court in Cairns late last month asking the court for a sequestration order against Aspinall's bankrupt estate.

The creditor's petition states that Aspinall owes Down to Earth Demolitions $1.56m because she failed to comply with a Supreme Court order to pay, made in March last year.

It also states that Aspinall failed to comply with a bankruptcy notice served on her on February 24.

Wendy Aspinall pleaded guilty to fraud charges. She said she spent $2.9 million of the embezzled money at the Reef Hotel Casino. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
Wendy Aspinall pleaded guilty to fraud charges. She said she spent $2.9 million of the embezzled money at the Reef Hotel Casino. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

The 58 year old, formerly of Bentley Park and currently in Townsville prison, was bankrupted on March 18, 2019, according to a search of the bankruptcy register and is an undischarged bankrupt.

If the court grants the sequestration order it will mean Aspinall is bankrupted for a second time.

Speaking outside of court, Down to Earth Demolitions' lawyer Doug McKinstry told The Courier-Mail that the second bankruptcy was necessary because Aspinall declared herself bankrupt in 2019 before her guilty plea to fraud charges and before a civil judgement was obtained.

The Public Trustee, which was Aspinalls bankruptcy trustee, would not accept Down to Earth Demolitions as a creditor in the first bankruptcy.

In July 2019 Aspinall was sentenced to serve a minimum of three years in prison of an 11-year sentence for embezzling $3.2mthrough cash withdrawals, phony cheques and electronic transfers between 2007 and 2017.

The vast majority of the money - nearly $2.9 million - was lost to poker machines at the Reef Casino, her sentencing hearing was told.

She pleaded guilty to four counts of fraud.

Down to Earth demolitions director Rohan Murphy. PICTURE: ANNA ROGERS
Down to Earth demolitions director Rohan Murphy. PICTURE: ANNA ROGERS

But during a hearing of a civil claim for the stolen money in the Supreme Court last year Aspinall argued she had only stolen "about half" of the $3.2 amount she was sentenced for, and she only agreed to plead guilty to stealing $3.2m because she didn't want to face a trial.

Aspinall's crimes were discovered when boss Rohan Murphy from Down to Earth Demolitions found two blank cheque butts in the cheque book in June 2017.

Mr McKinstry told the civil hearing last year that he was aware that the prospects of clawing back the stolen cash were "very slim, given that we have a 60-something year-old incarcerated, bankrupt, with one known asset which has a mortgage over it".

The case is due in court in Brisbane for hearing on May 5.

 

Originally published as Demolition company chasing bankrupt $3m fraudster