Conniving conwoman who stole hundreds and thousands of dollars from elderly citizens in a cruel banking scam avoids jail because she has a special needs adult daughter
- Karen Sandoval, 40, was sentenced to a three-year community correction order
- Working for the CBA, she ripped off elderly and vulnerable customers
- Sandoval escaped an immediate jail term because she has a special needs child
- The conwoman had claimed she was being stood over by mysterious crooks
- Sandoval stole $185,808 from eight victims all the way back in 2012 and 2013
- It took Victoria Police years to finally bring the cruel thief to some form of justice
It took police seven long years to bring conwoman Karen Sandoval to some form of justice.
On Friday she walked free with not even a slap on the wrist for her despicable crimes.
In a court that is accustomed to dishing out lengthy jail sentences to scammers such as Sandoval, the 40-year old would be saved by her autistic 18-year old daughter.
Conwoman Karen Sandoval defrauded elderly Commonwealth Bank customers
County Court of Victoria Judge Justin Hannebery could not bring such hardship upon the child by separating her from her mum, who herself still lives at home with her own elderly parents.
‘She needs a high level of support and supervision in many basic functions of life,’ he said.
‘The substantial burden of her life falls to you … I consider that this is one of the rare circumstances where the potential hardship to your daughter of you being imprisoned is at a level that should be considered exceptional and is a matter to be taken into account as a matter in mitigation.’
It was the elderly and frail Sandoval had targeted between March 2012 and August 2013 while employed at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
She had been a ‘saving specialist’, but the court heard the only one to save a penny was herself.
Sandoval stole $185,808 from eight victims during her crime spree before she was detected by the bank’s forensic accountants.
The court heard she tinkered with customer mailing addresses to intercept their bank statements and added her own personal details to their accounts.
It remains unclear exactly where all the money went, with Sandoval telling police she blew it on bills, an ex-boyfriend and another associate.
Her brazen thefts would eventually get back to her bosses when some of her elderly victims complained.
Sandoval admitted to the bank that she had robbed at least five customers who she knew were either elderly or suffered some form of mental impairment.
The police were notified in 2014, but she wasn’t arrested until three years later – after the bank had carried out a second internal audit which found more dodgy transactions.
Judge Hannebery condemned Victoria Police for the delays in investigating Sandoval.
‘You made a confession in 2013, the matter was referred to the police in 2014. It is remarkable that in those circumstances that it has taken seven years for the matter to conclude,’ he said.
‘No explanation for what seems a bizarre level of police inaction over an extended period was provided.’
The court heard Sandoval maintained she had committed the crimes because she was being coerced by a drug addicted colleague of her brother to do so.
However police found absolutely no evidence of any such threats and Judge Hannebery dismissed her claims.
‘Your contention that your offending was at the behest of others and that you in fact made no financial gain whatsoever because of the offending is not corroborated by any other evidence in the depositions,’ he said.
Judge Hannebery condemned Sandoval for her breach of trust while working in the bank.
‘You must have known full well the wrongfulness of misappropriating a customer’s funds. Your culpability is made greater by the fact you selected customers who were known to you and with whom you had a trusting relationship,’ he said.
Sandoval pleaded guilty to theft and obtaining a financial advantage by deception.
Judge Hannebery sentenced her to a three year community based order with 250 hours of unpaid community work.