Former manager denies theft allegations

By Alex Easton

A FORMER Lismore business leader has denied stealing close to $120,000 from the city's businesses.

Former Lismore Unlimited Opportunities manager Peter Fraser yesterday entered a plea of not guilty to charges he stole $119,700.24 in 68 transactions between December 12, 2002, and September 27, 2004.

Fraser, who now lives in a waterside home at Varsity Lakes on the Gold Coast, did not appear in Lismore Local Court for the mention of his case, with his lawyer entering a plea on his behalf.

Fraser is accused of taking money in lots ranging in size from $400 to $6500 over 21 months while he was manager of Lismore Unlimited.

The charges levelled against Fraser suggest there was only one month August 2003 between December 12, 2002, and September 27, 2004, that he didn't take money from Lismore Unlimited.

In most months he is accused of taking money several times and in one, August 2004, of taking more than $10,000 in seven separate transactions.

On three occasions, Fraser is accused of having taken money from the organisation twice in a single day, in transactions totalling thousands of dollars.

Lismore Unlimited had been funded through the Special Business Rate Variation Levy, imposed by Lismore City Council and given to Lismore Unlimited to promote business in the city. The levy was withdrawn late last year and is now administered by a council advisory committee, with spending first having to be cleared by the council.

Lismore Unlimited last year rebranded itself as the Lismore Chamber of Commerce and has dropped the administrative structure that Fraser worked in.

Fraser's case will be mentioned again at Lismore Local Court on April 21.

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