School's Former Financial Controller Charged Over Alleged $7.4 Million Fraud Spanning 15 Years
The former financial controller of a school in Sydney's eastern suburbs has been charged after allegedly defrauding the college more than $7.4 million over a 15-year period.
Augustine 'Gus' Nosti was arrested at Waverley Police Station on Thursday and charged with dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception, following a six-month-long investigation.
It's alleged between 2004 and 2019, Nosti, 57, redirected 402 transactions from Moriah College in Queens Park into his personal bank accounts.
Police allege he dishonestly obtained more than $7.4 million as a result, with each transaction allegedly ranging between $2,000 to more than $240,000.
Police said he has not been working at the school since their investigations began.
Moriah College's Principal, Rabbi Yehoshua Smukler, said the school thanked police for their assistance.
"We will continue to cooperate with the police as required," Smukler said in a statement to 10 News First.
Investigators began looking into the alleged misappropriation of funds by a former employee of the school in October 2019 with the help of the Australian Tax Office.
At the time, the school released a statement saying it was investigating "recently discovered serious alleged fraudulent activity, which appears to have been committed over a period of time within the College by a former administrative employee."
It said it had applied to the Supreme Court and was granted orders freezing the assets of the former employee.
"We are mindful this matter will be of concern to members of the College community and wider community and want to assure parents, staff members and students that there will be no disruption to school activity and our business of teaching and learning,” College President Stephen Jankelowitz said in a statement in November.
On Friday, Detective Inspector Gretchen Atkins said police will allege that Nosti's role as the financial controller for the school gave him access to school accounts to make transactions.
"The school employed forensic accountants to look at their books and that's where the discrepancies were identified," Atkins told reporters.
"It's obviously very disappointing for the school."
"It's very disappointing but ultimately it's been identified and he will now face court."
"$7.4 million, it's certainly not money I have lying around or the average person," she later said.
"A crime like this over a 15 year period is extensive and it's something we always investigate."
Atkins said the man had attended the police station willingly at the request of police before he was arrested.
Nosti has been granted strict conditional bail and is due to appear in court again on July 7.
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