The former chief financial officer of Minter Ellison's Adelaide arm has been sentenced to 10 1/2 years in jail after admitting that he stole nearly A$2.7 million (£1.8 million) from the top-tier Australian law firm.
Craig Raneberg, who was CFO of the firm's Adelaide and Darwin offices, pleaded guilty in March to 70 counts of theft between 2004 and 2011. The former CFO, who was made redundant in June 2011 after almost 10 years at the firm, will face a non-parole period of six years and four months.
The South Australian District Court heard on Friday that over a seven-year period Raneberg redirected partner funds into his own accounts and transferred money to real estate agents for residential properties.
Judge Geoffrey Muecke told the court that Raneberg had "put into reality a somewhat fantasy life of the rich and famous" -- a lavish lifestyle that "snowballed completely out of control."
After he was made redundant, Raneberg fled to Thailand, while an internal audit in the same month exposed irregularities in the firm's finances. He was arrested at Sydney airport last October and was extradited to Adelaide.
In a statement, Minter Ellison Adelaide managing partner Adam Bannister said: "Minter Ellison Lawyers SA and NT acknowledges that the matter involving Craig Raneberg has been dealt with by the court. We thank our dedicated staff and our clients who have remained steadfast in their support of our firm."
Minter Ellison is one of the few remaining Australian law firms yet to have tied up with a top U.K. or international practice. The majority of Minter's Perth base last year broke away to launch a local operation for Squire Sanders.