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Visy alleges payroll officer stole $3.3 million

Employers are warned to do thorough due diligence on employees working with company funds after packaging giant Visy succeeded in continuing a freeze on the assets of a payroll manager accused of stealing at least $3.3 million.

The Victorian Supreme Court yesterday also told 44-year-old Loretta Delianov, from the Melbourne suburb of Reservoir, she had until Friday to detail her assets, which include a slew of properties and an investment in a Pie Face franchise.

Visy's head of risk management David Latta said in an affidavit before the court that Delianov had signed a document last month saying she had stolen $991,769 since 2006.

"During my meetings with the defendant, she admitted stealing funds," Latta said.

"However, she has not always told me the truth."

The alleged fraud was first picked up by Visy in December. The company is continuing to investigate the alleged theft, including whether it actually started in 2003. Delianov was on a $75,000 salary at Visy.

It's alleged the funds were used to gather a property portfolio, including a CBD property bought without a mortgage for $3 million, as well as properties in suburban Mill Park and Reservoir. It's also alleged the money was used to help a relative set up a Pie Face business.

Martin Nally, managing director of human services firm hranywhere, says any role that managers company funds warrants a police check and a thorough check of referees. Nally also says employers should ask the applicant's permission to check with companies as well as listed individuals when weighing up whether to offer a job.

"Anyone who is responsible for funds within a company, there needs to be a very thorough process," Nally says.

Nally adds that a skills shortage of payroll managers can lead to quick hiring decisions. "They're as rare as hen's teeth in some industries, so you get romanced by the skills, not the suitability of the person."

The case will return to the Supreme Court on Friday. No police charges have been laid.

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