A LONG-SERVING employee of fraudster accountant Ray Walker’s Newcastle firm has told how she knew as far back as the 1990s that her boss was regularly giving clients cash in envelopes and collecting money from people to invest.
Martha Kodela, who worked for W Walker and Co for more than ten years, came forward last month to reveal the inner workings of the now defunct firm that was used by Ray Walker as a front to steal more than $10 million from 70 creditors, mostly Hunter-based clients.
She said while working at the company’s Belmont office she was shown where the cash envelopes were kept and instructed to give one to a client when he 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.
In 2006, 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.
Walker told her, like many other victims, she would receive a higher interest rate on deposit in his pooled trust account and her money would be safe with one of the big banks.
Ms Kodela said an annual return of 7.75 per cent was promised for the first year and when she questioned if the scheme was legal, Walker assured her it was.
On August 3, 2006, Ms Kodela deposited $100,000 in the R E Walker Trust Account.
When she needed extra money to supplement her pension she would call Ray Walker and he deposited money into her account.
The Federal Court in Sydney heard last week that in May 2014 Ms Kodela phoned W Walker and Co because she was going overseas and needed money.
Ray Walker was on holidays so she was put through to Brett Walker, who shared an office with his father for more than 25 years.
Brett Walker told the court he didn’t know his father was running a pooled investment scheme, that he was not licensed to operate, until after the Ponzi scam was uncovered in mid July 2015 when a client demanded her life savings be returned.
Just weeks after the fraud was detected Ray Walker took his own life at the family’s luxury beachfront Port Stephens holiday home.
Brett Walker told the court he couldn’t recall the conversation with Ms Kodela and or giving her money.
He was at a loss to explain why his company, B Walker and Co, was shown on bank records to have deposited $2000 into Ms Kodela’s account on the same day that she said the conversation took place.
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