Adrian Cali is reflecting on the last 24 hours after the women who stole $26,000 from his business over four years was sparred a jail term. PICTURE: MATT TAYLOR.
Adrian Cali is reflecting on the last 24 hours after the women who stole $26,000 from his business over four years was sparred a jail term. PICTURE: MATT TAYLOR.

Business owner fleeced of $26,000 by bookkeeper

A Townsville business manager is looking forward to putting the past seven years behind him after discovering his former bookkeeper had stolen from him.

From January 17, 2013 to August 2, 2017, Tanya Louise Pearson had been a trusted employee of Adrian Cali, operational manager of Ross Joinery Kitchens, a 62-year-old business in Garbutt.

Unbeknown to Mr Cali, Pearson was swindling money into her own bank accounts by credit card refunds, misappropriated bank transfers and cash receipts.

In total, Pearson stole $26,406.70 through 28 transactions.

Mr Cali said it was not the first time Pearson's indiscretions came to light at the business.

"We got a call from our bank saying there had been $3500 in EFTPOS transactions debited in $500 amounts, which threw up red flags for them," he said.

Tanya Louise Pearson was sentenced to 18 months' jail wholly suspended for an operational period of three years for stealing $26,000 from Ross Joinery Kitchens.
Tanya Louise Pearson was sentenced to 18 months' jail wholly suspended for an operational period of three years for stealing $26,000 from Ross Joinery Kitchens.

"We got on to her straight away that afternoon and she gave us a sob story saying her husband has a spending problem so we gave her a second chance."

In a psychologist's report filed at the Townsville Magistrates Court exclusively obtained by the Townsville Bulletin, Pearson admitted while she was stealing money from Mr Cali, "most of this time had been a blur".

In the court documents, Pearson revealed she stole from the company because of her financial struggles due to her husband's "impulse purchases" and felt she was unable to "live her normal life".

Pearson's fraudulent actions were finally uncovered after Mr Cali's new bookkeeper noticed their figures were not adding up. Pearson pleaded guilty to one count of stealing by clerks and servants and was sentenced to 18 months' jail wholly suspended with an operational period of three years on Monday.

Adrian Cali is reflecting on the last 24 hours after the women who stole $26,000 from his business over four years was sparred a jail term. PICTURE: MATT TAYLOR.
Adrian Cali is reflecting on the last 24 hours after the women who stole $26,000 from his business over four years was sparred a jail term. PICTURE: MATT TAYLOR.

Mr Cali and his father and owner of Ross Joinery Kitchens, Peter Cali, sat in on the sentencing in the Townsville Magistrates Court. He said they hoped for a harsher penalty but were happy to move on.

"I feel like it was a little bit light, the fact that getting a prison sentence but being wholly suspended, it is like nothing happened," he said.

"It is nice that it is finally over. It has been very stressful and I hated getting frustrated or upset every time we would talk about it."

Mr Cali said he had spent $10,000 on private forensic accountants to trace exactly how much money Pearson stole from the company.

As part of her sentence, Pearson was ordered to pay Ross Joinery Kitchens $26,000 in restitution with Mr Cali saying it was a small price to pay for their former bookkeeper.

"She will pay back the money she already stole from us but that doesn't include any of the money it cost us to have all this sorted," he said.

Originally published as Business owner fleeced of $26,000 by bookkeeper