The former chief financial officer of Minter Ellisons’s Adelaide and Darwin offices, Craig Raneberg, 47, has been sentenced to ten years and six months in jail, with a non-parole period of six years and four months.

Raneberg pleaded guilty to 70 counts of thefts that occurred between 2004 and 2011, admitting that he had stolen A$2.7 million from the Australian firm, according to prosecutors. Over the seven-year period, Raneberg redirected partner funds into his own accounts and transferred money to rent residential property and support a lavish lifestyle. He did not steal from client accounts.

The South Australian District Court heard the matter on July 20. The court heard Raneberg used the money to travel to the United States, Britain, the Gold Coast, Sydney, Melbourne, and Thailand. He stayed in expensive hotels and shopped in designer stores.

Judge Geoffrey Muecke said that Raneberg had “put into reality a somewhat fantasy life of the rich and famous” and it had “snowballed completely out of control.”

After being laid off last year, Raneberg left Australia for Thailand, just as an internal audit turned up inconsistencies in the firm’s finances. He was arrested at Sydney airport last October.

Minter Ellison sought A$6.5 million from Raneberg in lieu of the stolen money and past compensation. But according to David Mullen, Raneberg’s lawyer, all of the stolen money has been spent.

Judge Muecke said Minter Ellison would be likely to receive less than A$50,000 in restitution. The firm has sought to freeze his assets in the South Australian Supreme Court. The judge also said the firm might get another A$120,000 once a property in Raneberg’s name was sold.

Email: jseah@alm.com