The Queensland Court of Appeal has overturned a ruling on how much a company should receive from the estate of a former employee who had defrauded it of $2.5
million.
The Queensland Court of Appeal has overturned a ruling on how much a company should receive from the estate of a former employee who had defrauded it of $2.5 million.

Defrauded out of $2.5m but will only get $60k from estate

THE estate of a woman who defrauded her employer out of more than $2.5million has won an appeal to keep most of her life insurance payout.

Norma Renee Hanson worked for Goomboorian Transport from 2002 until her death in 2014. She started as a receptionist before moving into accounts and becoming office manager.

In 2006 she took out a life insurance policy that named her parents Norman and Dorothy Hanson as recipients.

Norma Hanson died suddenly on September 23, 2014, aged 31. At that time the life insurance policy was worth $1,427,000.

After her death, Goomboorian Transport owners John Gerhard Belling and Marlene Anne Belling discovered Norma had defrauded the company out of about $2.5million due to her gambling habit. She had paid some of her life insurance premiums with this stolen money.

Two 2018 Brisbane Supreme Court decisions found some of the Hansons' property, including a part of a Chatsworth house and an A-class Mercedes Benz, had in part been bought using funds that had been gained by Norma's fraud.

But the Queensland Court of Appeal overturned a previous order on Tuesday.

Instead just 4/95ths of the policy will be paid to Belling-run companies, about $60,000.

Her role in the fraud or the amount of the fraud were not in question.

In appealing the case, the Hansons argued the trial judge erred in law relating to how the life insurance policy was constructed and applied the wrong legal principle to those facts.

They said the trial judge viewed the life insurance policy as a series of month-by-month covers rather than as a single bundle.

But the Bellings argued the cover was made on a monthly basis in line with payments in advance. They argued the trial judge was correct and as final life insurance payments were made using ripped-off money, they were owed a significant amount of the policy.

But Justice Robert Gotterson found the policy explicitly said it was singular in nature and not a series of monthly insurances.

"(The policy) did not imply, much less state, that cover expired on each due date, to be renewed for the next month upon payment of a further premium,” he said.

"I am unable to agree with the conclusion of the learned primary judge that the proceeds of the policy are attributable to the premium paid on 1st September 2014 only. I would attribute them to all of the premiums paid.”

Costs are yet to be decided.

- NewsRegional



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