A former NAB executive who defrauded the bank of millions of dollars “doesn’t really understand why” she did so, a judge has heard.
Stress and over-committing to her role at NAB led Rosemary Rogers to corruptly steal from her former employer, defence lawyer Mark Tedeschi QC told her Sydney sentence hearing on Monday.
But while the 45-year-old felt under constant threat she would lose her job, “she doesn’t really understand why she came to commit these offences,” he said.
He submitted “greed” was partially responsible, and that she felt “entitled” to benefits after working alongside huge salary-earners living the “high life”.
Rogers has pleaded guilty to numerous offences including 27 counts of an agent corruptly receiving a benefit and for dishonestly obtaining a financial advance by deception.
Between 2013 and 2017 she received total benefits valued at $5.4 million, including $900,0000 towards purchasing her “dream home”.
An executive from Human Group for events management would pay Rogers “kickbacks” for showing favour through NAB to her company which at one point received 97 per cent of its revenue from the major bank, the facts of the case state.
These benefits included overseas holidays upwards of $620,000, a brand new BMW, a boat, a caravan, and home renovations.
Text messages between the two women referred to each other as “bestie” and “sister from another mother”.
Acting Judge Paul Conlon said it was “extraordinary” such scantily written, over-inflated invoices went undetected for so long, until 2017 when an anonymous whistleblower sent a letter to NAB executives uncovering the ruse.
Rogers claims she was oblivious to the extra skimming her counterpart was pocketing on the side, thinking the multi-million-dollar rolling contract with NAB was payment in itself.
One fraudulent invoice related to “Project Eagle” and the on-boarding of former NSW premier Mike Baird which had been performed by an entirely separate company and at the cost of $60,000, much less than the $2.2 million Rogers stated.
After achieving enormous success in an environment where she felt inadequate, Rogers developed adjustment disorder and lacked the emotional maturity to see the ridiculousness of her offending, and was “groomed” by her counterpart into enjoying the benefits, her defence said.
But the Crown argues “with breathtaking ease” she willingly participated in a sophisticated deception of the place she was entrusted to work for and acted with “utter recklessness” when disadvantaging the bank.
She is due to be sentenced on January 27.