“Ruthless” Australian Cons Friends’ Business Out of Millions to Gamble

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“Ruthless” Australian Cons Friends’ Business Out of Millions to Gamble

The owners of the Busy Bee Pharmacy in Perth, Australia, thought they had run into good luck when a family friend offered to manage the company’s books. What they didn’t expect was that the friend would ultimately embezzle over AU$3.5 million (US$2.48 million) to gamble, leading them to financial ruin.

Moe Moe Myint Kelly
Moe Moe Myint Kelly
Moe Moe Myint Kelly on the phone as she enters a courthouse in Australia. The accountant is going to jail for fleecing her friends out of millions of dollars to gamble. (Image: ABC News)

Diana Quan and her husband, Wolfgang Wimmer, jumped on the opportunity to have Moe Moe Myint Kelly become their accountant. Per an account by ABC News, she was already a friend of the family and a bookmaker, and was willing to provide her services for free as the company was going through a rough spell.

However, for seven years, Kelly siphoned off funds and deposited them into her own accounts. The sexagenarian is now going to spend the next few years behind bars to atone for her actions.

Broken Confidence

Because Kelly was a friend, Quan and Wimmer had no reason to doubt her abilities. This allowed her to repeated transfer funds into her own bank accounts, ultimately conducting over 400 illegal withdrawals. On some occasions, she would move AU$1,000 (US$709.30), while on others she would move as much as AU$15,000 (US$10,635).

The money went to fuel Kelly’s trips to casinos, although she was apparently a better embezzler than a gambler. Records showed that she spent at least AU$1.2 million at Crown Resorts’ Crown Perth casino, but was never able to come out ahead. In addition, she also used the money to give herself a life of luxury while she simultaneously squirreled some of it away.

Everything seemed to be going smoothly, at least in Kelly’s mind. From 2011 to 2018, she got away with her actions, leaving her friends oblivious to what was really happening. Then, however, she made a clerical mistake in that last year that led the business owners to conduct an audit.

When they realized what was going on, they contacted Kelly. At that point, Kelly’s reign as an embezzler came to an end. Initially, after she realized she was in trouble, Kelly tried to find a way out. She offered to sell her apartment and work for free. Unfortunately, nothing would come close to providing commensurate compensation for the entire amount they lost.

As a result, Quan and Wimmer contacted the police, who arrested Kelly. The business owners are now in dire straits, having lost everything. Quan doesn’t believe they’ll ever be able to recover.

Off To Jail

Kelly’s case went to trial, where she first tried to claim that her actions were her friends’ fault. She stated that they never offered to pay her once things started to recover, and that she stole the money so she wouldn’t have to tell her husband that she didn’t have any money.

Then, her lawyer tried to deploy the pity plea. She came from an impoverished home in Burma, her parents abandoned her as a child and she had a “deprived childhood” – almost boilerplate excuses to justify someone’s life of crime.

The judge presiding over the case, David MacLean, didn’t buy it. While he admitted that Kelly likely suffered some abuse, she “stole directly, repeatedly without guilt, remorse or shame from someone who you appeared to consider as family.”

MacLean called her “ruthless” and “greedy,” and accused her of abusing her position of trust. Kelly was to stand trial for stealing the full amount, but a plea deal reduced the total to AU$2 million (US$1.42 million).

As a result, the judge sentenced her to four years and eight months behind bars – she could be eligible for parole in less than three. Quan and her husband, however, have lost 10 years of their lives that they’ll never get back. MacLean ordered the seizure of Kelly’s assets, but they won’t be worth nearly the amount she stole.

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