Ex-Channel 7 exec ‘used 700 dodgy invoices to steal $8m‘
A FORMER Channel 7 executive allegedly used 700 dodgy invoices to steal $8 million from the commercial TV network.
John Fitzgerald, 58, was arrested by Financial Crimes Squad officers at his Breakfast Point home just before 8am and taken to Burwood Police Station where police said he would be charged.
A NSW Supreme Court case previously heard Fitzgerald, the former commercial manager at the network, allegedly used invoices to direct the network's money to companies he owned.
Mr Fitzgerald denied any wrongdoing with this arrangement.
Police established Strike Force Hamment in March 2017 to look into alleged "misappropriation of funds totalling more than $8 million by a former employee of the network".
Financial Crimes Squad detective acting superintendent Richard Puffett said the two-year police investigation was "complex and laborious" despite the company, who had done significant legal work on their own case, cooperating with detectives.
"The (alleged) fraudulent activity ... spanned 14 years approximately from 2002 and … has totalled $8 million in funds," Supt Puffett said.
"We allege there is no less than 700 of these invoices and incidents that relate to the $8 million.
"The network in question has approached police after making their own internal inquiries and they've been fully cooperative with us and have shared information which has resulted in the arrest today."
He said Fitzgerald allegedly put much of the stolen money into property and superannuation.
The arrest was a warning, he said, to professionals that they would not only answer to their bosses if they were caught defrauding their own employer.
"We like to send the message that if you bite the hand that feeds you, we'll come after you," Supt Puffett said.