A former Seven Network executive has been charged after he allegedly used false invoices to defraud the company of more than $8 million.
Detectives investigating the misappropriation of money by a former employee of the network arrested John Fitzgerald, 57, at a Breakfast Point home in Sydney on Wednesday morning.
Detective Acting Superintendent Richard Puffett said the fraud allegedly occurred over about 14 years and involved more than “700 of these invoices and incidents”.
“This has resulted in the funds being siphoned off to a number of bank accounts that have been set up by this individual,” he told reporters in Sydney.
“We believe a lot of the funds were put into superannuation investments in terms of real estate.”
Fitzgerald was charged on Wednesday with two counts of misappropriating money, two counts of obtaining money by deception and four counts of dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception.
He was refused bail and is due to appear in Burwood Local Court on Thursday.
Seven previously launched legal action against the network’s former commercial programming manager and was in 2016 granted an injunction to freeze his assets.
A judgment at the time said his role at the network included accounting, financial reporting and the budgetary responsibility for television productions, sport, news and public affairs.
The case was ultimately settled in 2018.
In an interview with News Corp Australia last year Fitzgerald said a legitimate bookkeeping service was provided “and it didn’t really affect shareholders because the service had to be done”.
Fitzgerald was a franchisee for bookkeeping business Shoebox Books which on Wednesday said it had terminated his Parramatta franchise.