Cash envelopes, illegal investments and the Newcastle accountant that netted $10m

FRAUD: Newcastle accountant Ray Walker stole more than $10 million from his mostly ageing Hunter-based clients.

A LONG-SERVING employee of fraudster accountantRay Walker’s Newcastlefirmhas told how she knew as far back as the 1990s that her bosswasregularly giving clientscash inenvelopesand collecting money from peopleto invest.

Martha Kodela, who workedfor W Walker and Cofor more than ten years, came forward lastmonth to revealthe inner workings of the now defunct firm that was used byRay Walker as a frontto stealmore than $10 millionfrom 70 creditors,mostlyHunter-based clients.

Shesaid while working at the company’s Belmont office she was shown where the cash envelopes were kept and instructed to give onetoa client whenhe came to collect it.

“Whoever was in the office at the time a client came in asking for their envelope needed to know where the envelopes were kept so they could be handed over,” she said.

In2006,seven years after she retired, Ms Kodela, who was 68 at the time, went to see Ray Walker for financial advice after inheriting$100,000 from her mother.

Walkertold her, like manyother victims, shewouldreceive a higher interest rate on deposit in his pooled trust account and hermoney would besafe with one of the big banks.

Ms Kodela said an annual return of7.75 per cent was promised for the first year and when she questioned ifthe scheme was legal, Walker assuredher itwas.

On August 3, 2006, Ms Kodela deposited $100,000 inthe R E Walker Trust Account.

Whenshe needed extra money to supplement her pension she would call Ray Walker and hedeposited money into her account.

The FederalCourt in Sydney heard last week thatin May 2014 Ms Kodelaphoned W Walker and Co because she was going overseas and neededmoney.

Ray Walker was on holidaysso she was put through to Brett Walker, who shared an office with his father for more than 25 years.

NO RECALL: Brett Walker, head of Newcastle’s Active Accounting Group, right, with his barrister Steven Golledge outside the Federal Court in Sydney last week after giving evidence at his father’s bankruptcy trustee hearing.

Brett Walker told the courthe didn’t know his father was running a pooled investmentscheme, that hewasnot licensed to operate, until after the Ponzi scamwas uncovered in mid July 2015 when a client demanded her life savings be returned.

Just weeks after the fraud was detectedRay Walker took his own life at the family’s luxury beachfront Port Stephens holiday home.

Brett Walkertold the courthe couldn’t recall theconversation with Ms Kodela and or giving her money.

Hewas at a loss toexplain why his company,B Walker and Co, was shown on bank records to havedeposited $2000 into Ms Kodela’saccount on the same day thatshe saidthe conversation took place.

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