Court told of steel shed fraud
BALLINA business-woman Lee-Anne Munro, charged with a series of fraud-related offences over her former steel shed building company, mortgaged the family home without her husband's knowledge, it was claimed in a court hearing.
Munro, 40, who uses the name Gardner and lives at Mascot, is pleading not guilty before the Ballina Local Court to 15 offences.
She is the former director of Tristeel Ballina and Town & Country Sheds and Garages, and is accused of fraudulent misappropriation of money from four clientsinvolving over $30,000.
The Northern Rivers people had signed up to have three steel frame sheds and a house built through her company, which later went into receivership in October 2005.
In the hearing before Magistrate John McIntosh, the business-woman faces five counts of making and five counts of using fraudulent documents, and one count of passing a valueless cheque.
Evidence included statements from her all-eged victims and from the two investigating police officers, Sgt Chad Deegenaars and Det Peter Curran.
Through defence lawyer Bruce Peters, Munro claimed her former husband, Phillip Munro, had been using company money to fund his lifestyle with flying lessons and speedboats, a claim strongly denied by Mr Munro, who has not been charged with any offences.
Mr Munro said he had left all business dealings for the company to his wife who he had trusted, only sometimes asking how the company was doing and being told there was hundreds of thousands of dollars in its accounts.
He said he had no idea his wife had mortgaged the family home, which he said was paid for by his former father-in-law as part of tax avoidance to allow him to receive a pension.
People who had signed up with the company told the court their business dealings had always been with Lee-Anne Munro, who also faxed them development approval documents (for their sheds or house) that police claim were ‘doctored' by her.
Prosecutor Sgt Terry James asked Mr Munro if he was responsible for the unlawful documents. “None at all,” he replied.
The case continues today.