Former Eastside Lutheran College funding bid argues over $144,000 stolen from Tasmanian school

The former employee of a private school in southern Tasmania has pleaded guilty to stealing nearly $150,000 from the college during her employment.

Rachael Nga Huia Walden, 35, was employed as a finance officer at Eastside Lutheran College in May 2018.

A post on the school’s Facebook page from four years ago shows she was recruited as part of a restructuring of the finance department.

“We look forward to the contributions these new members of the College team will make in the future,” the school wrote.

About two years later, in April 2020, another message informed parents that there was a “backlog” in the finance department and that Walden was no longer working at the college.

“For your information, Rachael Walden is no longer employed at the College,” he said.

“We wish Rachael the best as she moves into other areas of employment. She will continue to be part of our wonderful community as a parent.”

In April 2022, Tasmania Police charged Walden with 79 fraud-related offences.

Court documents allege that between August 2018 and his departure from school in April 2020, Walden stole approximately $144,000 from the school.

Of the 79 charges, 77 related to computer fraud.

Police allege that on 77 occasions over the course of two years, Walden entered false data into school computers and then used that false data to generate a large number of checks.

The amounts ranged from approximately $400 to $5,000.

Police also allege that on two separate occasions Walden wrote a cash check and took it to the bank, dishonestly acquiring a total of $7,352 from the school for herself.

For this, she was charged with two counts of dishonest acquisition of a financial advantage.

In Hobart Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, Walden pleaded guilty to all counts.

She will appear before the Supreme Court in October.