A former paralegal who fleeced more than $1.3million from Macquarie Bank to fund her luxury lifestyle will spend at least two years behind bars.
Danika Lena, 27, splashed cash on Chanel handbags, in swanky bars and on Ubers for almost two years while she made withdrawals in the name of the clients at the legal firm Corrs Chambers Westgarth.
The young woman from Drummoyne in Sydney’s inner west cried throughout the sentencing at the Downing Centre Distract Court where judge Deborah Sweeney jailed her for a minimum of two years, The Daily Telegraph reported.
Danika Lena (pictured) is accused of defrauding Macquarie Bank of more than $1.3million
In August last year Lena pleaded guilty to 21 charges of using a false document to obtain a financial advantage, a crime carrying a maximum jail term of 10 years.
The court heard that her white collar crime spree was fuelled by severe body-image issues and other mental health problems.
Between September 2013 and June 2015 Lena used her position in the development sales arm of legal firm Corrs Chambers Westgarth to make large withdrawals from Maquarie bank in the name of clients.
She would fill out a withdrawal slip for the partners at the law firm to unwittingly sign but would put her bank details instead of the clients.
Lena started with smaller amounts, taking $5,000 to start with but she quickly started siphoning off larger amounts. She stole $82,394.57 in December 2013 and $116,000 on one day in April 2015.
In total she fraudulently obtained a total of $1,304,324.67 from the bank.
Lena (pictured out of court in 2017) lived large for almost two years while she made withdrawals in the name of the clients at the legal firm Corrs Chambers Westgarth.
Lena pleaded guilty to making 21 fraudulent transactions in total, the largest being for $116,000 in April 2015 (pictured out of court in 2017)
The law firm tipped police off in June 2016 after a client complained that they had not been paid.
Lena blew $547,000 on designer threads between 2013 and 2015 shopping for brands like Sass & Bide, Pierre Haddad and Chanel.
Hey there big spender! Exactly what Lena spent the money on:
David Jones: $180,000
Sass & Bide, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Prada and Pierre Haddad Hair: $280,000
Scanlan & Theodore: $60,000
Tuchuzy Bondi: $30,000
Taxi Fares, Uber, Car Park fees: $140,000
Cash withdrawals: $200,000
Debt repayments: $25,000
She spent a whopping $140,000 on taxis, Ubers and car parking fees.
She also cleared $25,000 of her own debts and would withdraw more than $200,000 in cash from ATM machines at one time.
Lena’s criminal behaviour and excess shopping was linked to her body dysmorphic disorder and other body-image related mental health issues.
The court heard that she had been diagnosed with sever depression, bulimia and self-esteem issues.
‘A psychiatrist report states her compulsive shopping behaviour was linked to poor body image,’ Ms Sweeney told the court.
‘Of her compulsive shopping she felt excited beforehand but her depression returned afterwards.’
‘During her stealing she also went to great lengths to tell her family, friends and work colleagues she was suffering health issues to gain adoration and attention.’
She will be eligible for release on parole in April 2020.