Millions stolen to fund lavish lifestyle

By PerthNow

Maria Camarda, who has pleaded guilty to stealing as a servant. Photo / Facebook
Maria Camarda, who has pleaded guilty to stealing as a servant. Photo / Facebook

A glamorous former law firm office worker faces jail after admitting to siphoning more than A$2 million through her unsuspecting employer.

The money Maria Gloria Camarda stole from trust accounts managed by the Perth law firm she worked for was used to satiate her own greed and fund a lavish lifestyle, police say.

Details of the tattooed 48-year-old's fraud - that saw her last month plead guilty to two counts of stealing as a servant - can be exposed for the first time.

Detective Senior Sergeant Steve Potter, officer-in-charge of the Major Fraud Squad, said Camarda was off­ice practice manager at the firm, which reported the matter to police last year.

In total, A$2.1 million had been stolen from two trust accounts. In her role, Camarda had ready access to those funds, he said. The funds were stolen from 2007 to 2015.

Senior Sergeantt Potter said Camarda spent her ill-gotten gains on lifestyle expenses, clothing, bills, her mortgage and gambling at Crown Perth.

He did not know if any of the stolen money was used for cosmetic procedures.

"Over that time, she was just paying herself extra wages," he said.

"Obviously she had been working there a while and they had trusted her and at some stage she decided it was too easy (to defraud them).

"You've just got to be careful if one person alone is doing these things, there needs to be someone checking the checker."

Her Facebook page shows she visited Las Vegas three years ago and lists her employer as American fast food chain Hooters.

Camarda's Instagram page shows the West Coast Eagles fan partying at clubs and functions, cosying up to Ben Cousins and getting snaps with other famous footballers including Nic Naitanui, Matthew Pavlich, Sam Newman, Jonathan Brown, Andrew Gaff, Matthew Priddis, Taylor "Tex" Walker and Steve Johnson. She also appeared on The Footy Show's Street Talk segment with Sam Newman.

Camarda's lawyer Ian Farquhar declined to comment, except to confirm his client had pleaded guilty to the two fraud charges and would likely be sentenced later this year. Her former employer also declined to comment.

After The Sunday Times attempted to contact Camarda, her Facebook page was removed.
Camarda will make her first appearance in the Perth District Court next month. The maximum penalty for stealing as a servant is 10 years jail.


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