A western suburbs bank teller has narrowly escaped jail after admitting stealing $37,000 in cash from mostly elderly customers before claiming she could not remember taking or spending the money.
Natassia Elaine De Aguiar Iliou was a trusted staff member at Westpac branches in Cottesloe, Subiaco and Claremont, sometimes working as the only teller behind the counter serving customers in person.
But for six weeks last year, the 22-year-old preyed on some of those customers, helping them to withdraw cash and at the same time helping herself to thousands of dollars from their accounts.
Eleven customers — the oldest aged 91 — had up to $5000 at a time lifted from their accounts by De Aguiar Iliou with no explanation.
She also could not come up with any explanation as to where the money had gone when police from the major fraud squad came calling.
Yesterday, she still could not explain where the money went.
Perth Magistrate’s Court was told how the pilfering began in March last year when an 80-year-old man used the Subiaco branch to withdraw money.
After he left, De Aguiar Iliou used his details to withdraw $2000 from his account for herself. The next day the same man had the same amount stolen.
Over six weeks, almost a dozen unsuspecting customers had thousands of dollars disappear from their accounts. Six of the customers were over 80.
De Aguiar Iliou told police and a psychiatrist that she had “blacked out” during the episodes, as she had done before in periods of high stress.
She had since paid back just $3300 to the bank, the court was told.
After being urged by police to send De Aguiar Iliou to prison, Magistrate Geoff Lawrence decided against it.
She was sentenced to a year in prison, suspended for two years, put on an intensive supervision order for a year and given 200 hours of community service.
De Aguiar Iliou was also ordered to pay the bank the outstanding $33,700.
But it didn’t seem to deter her as she left court yesterday, joking and laughing.