“I want to serve time in jail”: Accountant confesses to stealing $500k from employer

“I want to serve time in jail”: Accountant confesses to stealing $500k from employer

A former accountant who stole more than half a million dollars from her employer to fund her extravagant lifestyle has been jailed after telling police she wanted to spend time in prison.

Donna Zanin, 42, was ordered to serve two years and three months behind bars on Tuesday after she admitted to siphoning $551,451 from the company’s finances.

The accountant pleaded guilty last month to six counts of theft, which was carried out in 57 individual transactions ranging from $2,000 to over $20,000 between November 2014 and January 2019.

Zanin had been the only financial manager at the Schnitz food chain until she was made redundant in a 2018 company restructure. She was later re-hired on a contract basis.

The new financial head Regan Cheriton noticed the suspicious transactions and told Zanin on June 6, 2019 that he was working with ANZ to investigate them.

Zanin confessed to the thefts at Richmond police station the day after, showing the 34 international flights bought with the stolen funds on her passport.

She also sent an apology text to Schnitz founder Roman Dyduk, saying: “I’ve decided I’m ruining my life and have been enacting a plan to ruin my life for some time.

“I sound insane but I will serve time in jail. I want to serve time in jail. I’m at the police station now confessing.”

County Court judge David Sexton said while Zanin showed significant remorse, he was “somewhat bewildered” by her explanation.

“You told police in that interview that you had been stealing money from your workplace for an extended period of time and you had been waiting to get caught,” he said in the Melbourne County Court on Tuesday, as reported by The Age.

“You had spent the money mostly on extravagant holidays, expensive restaurants, alcohol.

“You also provided a sustained and detailed narrative about wanting to get caught, wanting to self-sabotage, purposefully stealing an extreme amount of money and knowing you would probably go to jail.”

Judge Sexton said Zanin’s offending was a significant breach of trust and seriously affected the family business Dyduk built with his sons.

Zanin will be eligible for parole after 16 months.