The former chief financial officer of Minter Ellison’s Adelaide and Darwin offices, Craig Raneberg, has been handed a ten-and-a-half-year jail sentence for 70 counts of theft from the firm, totaling $2.7 million.
Ranenberg pleaded guilty to the theft from Minter Ellison, which occurred between 2004 and 2011 while he worked as the firm’s CFO.
The court heard that over a seven-year period Ranenberg redirected partner funds into his own account and transferred money to rent residential property, travel to the United States, Britain, the Gold Coast, Sydney, Melbourne and Thailand, and stay in expensive hotels.
Judge Geoffrey Muecke said Ranenberg left Australia for Thailand after being laid off last year. At the same time, the law firm’s internal audit found inconsistencies in the firm’s finances. The former CFO was arrested at Sydney airport in October.
In his sentence, the judge told the court that Ranenberg had funded a lavish lifestyle.
“You had put into reality a somewhat fantasy life of the rich and famous,” he said.
“Your lifestyle was out of control and you lived in a world which was not real, all the while taking money from your employers to maintain the lifestyle, image, generosity and friendship.”
Minter Ellison sought $6.5 million from their former head of finance, in lieu of the stolen money and past compensation. But Ranenberg’s lawyer, David Mullen, said all the money had been spent.