Jailed fraudster tells jury of kickbacks

·3-min read

A former NAB senior staffer has told a jury of receiving a house, a BMW car, a boat, holidays and other benefits after approving false bank invoices for a businesswoman.

Rosemary Rogers said when she'd tell her what she wanted, Helen Rosamond would say "leave it with me, I will get it sorted" and come back with options to add items onto invoices sent to NAB.

She said her benefits included Rosamond organising a European trip and a relative's 50th birthday party involving first class flights from Melbourne to Sydney, hotel accommodation, a restaurant dinner and harbour cruise.

Rogers was giving evidence on Thursday at the NSW District Court trial of Rosamond, the former chief executive of events and human resources company Human Group.

The 47-year-old has pleaded not guilty to dozens of fraud and bribery charges related to allegedly defrauding the bank of millions of dollars between 2013 and 2017.

The Crown alleges Rosamond sent falsified and inflated invoices from Human Group to NAB and paid millions of dollars in kickbacks to Rogers to ensure they were paid.

Rogers said she received a prison sentence in December 2020 after pleading guilty to 27 counts of corruptly receiving a benefit and five of obtaining a financial advantage by deception.

She received discounts for pleading guilty and for providing information to authorities.

"I was defrauding the bank by approving fraudulent invoices received from Ms Rosamond," she told the jury.

Starting work as a teller in 1995, Rogers went on to become chief-of-staff to the chief executive from 2009 until 2017 when the bank received an anonymous whistleblower letter about her.

She was authorised to approve payments of up to $20 million.

The bank engaged Human Group to organise a 2005 event in Hong Kong, when Rogers first met Rosamond.

The company was then used to manage regular events and in 2008 became a preferred supplier under a "panel contract".

The standard of events co-ordinated by Rosamond was "great" and the two women developed a friendship, through regular work meetings.

"Because the events became very stock-standard, the meetings became less about planning pretty much and probably switched a bit to more social," she said.

The contract included requirements about audits and for listing expenses and supplying supporting documents, but Rogers said she approved Rosamond's invoices without them.

"There were things that were going through the invoices I didn't want to be audited," she said.

They were "payments for my benefit" and the transactions were not approved by the bank.

Rogers said she didn't know the exact invoices that were falsified, but understood her role was to approve those invoices.

Her benefits had included a lot of travel, holidays, BMW, boat, cheque for a house, a deposit for a house and cash, she said.

Rogers said sometimes invoices would over-run the budget for a project and when this was due to covering her benefits, she would approve payment giving an explanation for overspending.

"It was quite easy to refer to some changes and amendments to projects," she said.

The prosecutor has alleged that among the largest of the allegedly fraudulent invoices issued was one for $2.2 million, purportedly for "Project Eagle", involving the recruitment of former NSW premier Baird.

Rogers said the $2.2 million was for a house for her and she and Rosamond had talked about the best way to put it "through the system" as it was outside the standard budget.

She said there were no legitimate NAB items in the Project Eagle invoice which the bank paid.

When she was interviewed by NAB security after the whistleblower letter, she said she told lies including by saying $1.5 million in her account was a loan from Rosamond.

She will continue her evidence on Friday.