Tracey Lee Cook's cunning plan was first set in motion days before Christmas in 2014 when the highly paid ANZ manager's bank balance swelled significantly.

The 44-year-old Victorian mother-of-two would soon accumulate more than $300,000 in fraudulent deposits courtesy of a scam that used junior staff to do her dirty work.

Between December 17, 2014 and June 16, 2016, Cook stole a total of $311,529.62(AUD) (336184.92NZD) via 14 separate transactions — money she later used to fund a lavish lifestyle that included the purchase of jetskis and an investment property.

Cook, who worked as a senior manager of transaction processing, was in charge of a team of 162 people who dealt with cheque processing and, more specifically, holding "dishonoured cheques".


A dishonoured cheque is one that cannot be recovered and has a value that is "written off".

According to court documents viewed by, Cook "offended by asking staff members, subordinate to her and whom she managed", to process 14 dishonoured cheques for her.

The money went straight into accounts used to benefit her, her family or various third parties. Some of the money went to the Australian Taxation Office, some of it went to her sister, some of it went to a law firm to pay a deposit on an investment property and some of it went to a man who sold her a jetski.

Tracey Lee Cook stole more than $300,000 from ANZ bank. Photo /
Tracey Lee Cook stole more than $300,000 from ANZ bank. Photo /

Prosecutors said Cook tried to "cover-up" her behaviour with additional transactions aimed as "disguising and concealing ... her fraudulent activity".

On some occasions she transferred money into an out of various accounts which delayed any investigation as per ANZ practice.

Cook provided false information about why the ANZ accounts were being debited. She told senior staff that a change in the delivery company used by ANZ was responsible for missing bags of cheques. But her plan unravelled when a junior staff member raised a red flag.

Cook immediately confessed and repaid the entire amount she stole. Following an investigation, her employment with ANZ was terminated. She had been with the bank since 1997.

On Thursday, a judge called her "greedy" and lashed her for taking advantage of her plum $200,000-a-year position.


"This is greed. It's absolute greed," Victorian County Court judge Trevor Wraight said.

"I think the offending itself is up there. It was to meet a lavish lifestyle of a family that was already in the top few per cent of earnings in the country."

The court heard Cook's household made an annual income of $500,000.

In court, Cook sobbed and pleaded with the judge to spare her a custodial sentence. Her lawyer, David Galbally, argued her daughters needed to be with their mother.

"Girls require different attention to boys, they just do," he told the court.

Cook was refused bail and will be sentenced in the Victorian County Court on Friday.