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Brighton woman admits stealing more than $850k from real estate agency

A former Brighton East bookkeeper has admitted to stealing more than $850,000 over three years from the real estate agency where she worked.

Debbie Ann Mauger, 57, pleaded guilty to three counts of theft on Friday morning after hundreds of charges were withdrawn in the Melbourne Magistrates Court by prosecutors.

Debbie Ann Mauger has pleaded guilty to three counts of theft.

Mauger is accused of stealing $858,648 from Belle Property Sandringham (Melrose Sales Pty Ltd) between the end of 2016 and February last year.

The real estate agency was under the Hockingstuart brand at the time.

The Age understands Mauger siphoned money out of the company accounts through hundreds of encrypted transfers to bogus creditors, and that police have been unable to find out how most of the money was spent.

Mauger appeared via video link from the office of her lawyer for the hearing on Friday morning.

The court was told that over 200 charges of obtaining property by deception would be withdrawn, and three new charges of theft had been added on Thursday.

Court documents show that between December 14, 2016 and November 28, 2019, she stole “cash money being property belonging to Melrose Sales Pty Ltd [Belle Property Sandringham] and valued at $648,689.28”.

Between July 7, 2017 and February 20 last year she stole $198,111.75, and another $11, 847 between January 13, 2017 and February 3 last year.

Magistrate Kieran Gilligan found the evidence was of sufficient weight to support a conviction, and asked Mauger whether she would plead guilty or not guilty.

“Guilty your honour,” she said.

A half-day plea hearing was set down in the County Court for June 10.

Mauger’s bail was extended to that date. She is not allowed to contact any prosecution witnesses.

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