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From black tie to behind bars

From black tie to behind bars

Sat July 21, 2012 5:53am

ADDICTED to fame and riches, Craig Dean Raneberg spent seven years living in a fraud-fuelled fantasy world.

He siphoned the coffers of his employer, law firm Minter Ellison, on a near-fortnightly basis to fund his opulent lifestyle.

Yesterday, the bill for his million-dollar criminal acts came due - a minimum jail term shorter than the time over which he offended.

The District Court yesterday jailed Raneberg, 47, for 10½ years with a non-parole period of six years and four months.

He had confessed to stealing from Minter Ellison 191 times between August 2004 and June 2011 while working as its chief financial officer.

In sentencing, Judge Geoffrey Muecke said Raneberg stole "regularly and habitually".

"You claimed you had no idea how much you had taken, had never added it up and lived in denial about how much was taken," he said.

Judge Muecke said Raneberg began stealing from the firm within weeks of taking up his post.

He transferred money from the firm's back accounts to his own, or to real estate agents to pay for house deposits and luxury apartments.

Judge Muecke said most of the money was used for overseas trips or spent on lavish gifts for friends.

He said Raneberg - who was on the board of the Adelaide Fringe and State Opera - was socially inept and wanted to appear wealthy.

"You stole to maintain a lifestyle of travel, accommodation and prolific spending which you would otherwise not have been able to maintain," he said.

"It seems that profligacy and a fantasy world of the rich and famous was your addiction."

He said Minter Ellison discovered Raneberg's crimes after he was made redundant, wiped the firm's transaction history and fled to Thailand. He was arrested months later after returning to Australia to speak to his father.

"The people from whom you stole gave you their trust and expected you to honour it ... you betrayed their trust," Judge Muecke said. "You know what you did was inexcusable."

He backdated Raneberg's sentence to the date of his arrest in October last year.

 

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