A cash-strapped banking business manager desperate to keep up with the affluent lifestyle of his wealthy friends has been jailed after pleading guilty to stealing almost half a million dollars from his bank.
Former National Australia Bank manager Andre Andrada, 34, was sentenced in Brisbane District Court on Wednesday after pleading guilty to stealing $437,000 in a "carefully managed and premeditated" fraud.
Andrada - son-in-law of former Queensland mayor Allan Sutherland who faces separate misconduct charges - was facing bankruptcy in 2015 before he was knocked back for a significant loan to consolidate his debts.
Desperate and fearing financial ruin, Andrada sought relief from payday lenders before embarking on the elaborate scheme to steal from NAB.
Andrada created 51 accounts and business loans under the name of existing clients without their authorisation before transferring substantial funds to himself in a total of 172 transactions.
"He exploited the trust placed in him in a carefully managed and premeditated manner," crown prosecutor Dejana Kovac told the court.
"He went to extreme lengths to set up the loans, he devised sophisticated methods to avoid detection and he was able to do that due to his senior position within the bank."
Defence counsel Michael Copely said what started as a way to escape financial ruin became the means for Andrada to keep up with his wealthy friends.
"His group of friends were all successful people who had to have boats, and go on overseas holidays and have nice things.
"That is the type of lifestyle that he desired for himself."
It was not until Andrada's marriage and the birth of his son that he was overcome by guilt over the scam.
He deliberately overextended the line of credit to one of his fraudulent accounts, knowing it would be detected by the bank, before confessing to the scam.
"My client was most uncomfortable with the false picture that he was presenting to his wife and to his son," Mr Copely said.
"He was presenting himself as being a person with a good job and a successful career in a respectable position in a bank, yet at the same time, he knew that he had engaged in all this dishonesty.
"He did not feel that he could go on living that double life for his wife and his son's sake."
Andrada took investigators step by step through his scheme and even offered tips on how to make the system more secure in the future.
Justice David Kent said Andrada held a responsible position within the bank earning more than $100,000 a year.
"That in some way makes it somewhat more difficult to understand your offending," Justice Kent said.
"The proceeds of the offences were to pay off debts and to indulge lifestyle expenditures to use the old fashioned phrase to 'keep up with the Joneses'."
Andrada was sentenced to five years' imprisonment, suspended from October 26, 2022.
Australian Associated Press