Eastside Lutheran College’s former finance offer pleads to stealing over $144k from Tasmanian school

The former employee of a private school in Tasmania’s south has pleaded guilty to stealing almost $150,000 from the college during the course of her employment.

Rachael Nga Huia Walden, 35, was employed as a finance officer at Eastside Lutheran College in May 2018.

A post on the school’s Facebook page from four years ago shows she was brought in as part of a restructuring of the finance department.

“We look forward to the contributions these new members of the College team will make in the future,” the school wrote.

About two years later, in April 2020, there was another post informing parents there was a “backlog of work” in the finance department and Walden no longer worked at the college.

“For your information, Rachael Walden is no longer employed at the College,” it said.

“We wish Rachael the very best as she moves on to other fields of employment. She will continue to be part of our wonderful community as a parent.”

In April 2022, Tasmania Police charged Walden with 79 fraud-related offences.

Court documents allege that from August 2018 until she left the school in April 2020, Walden stole about $144,000 from the school.

Of the 79 charges, 77 were for computer-related fraud.

Police allege that on 77 occasions over the course of two years, Walden falsely entered data on computers at the school and then used that false data to generate a large number of checks.

The amounts range from about $400 to $5,000.

Police also allege that on two occasions, Walden wrote a check out to cash and took it to the bank, dishonestly acquiring a total of $7,352 from the school for herself.

For that she was charged with two counts of dishonestly acquiring a financial advantage.

In the Hobart Magistrates Court on Tuesday, Walden entered guilty pleas to all counts.

She will appear in the Supreme Court in October.

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