Business of Law

Ex-CFO of Top Australian Law Firm is Arrested, Accused of Stealing Six-Figure Sum

The former chief financial officer of a top Australian law firm was held without bail as a flight risk on charges that he stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from Minter Ellison and/or its partners.

Federal police arrested Craig Raneberg, 38, at the Sydney airport after he made a quick trip back to Australia from Bangkok to renew his Thai visa, reports the Australian. Because of the time difference, it was already early Thursday, Oct. 6, in Sydney when Raneberg was taken into custody.

Raneberg was charged with dishonestly taking property without the owner’s consent.

He was terminated from the Big Six law firm in June after working there for a decade, around the same time that an audit reportedly discovered irregularities in Minter Ellison’s accounts. The firm is now reportedly conducting audits back to 2001.

Previous articles in the Advertiser and the Australian detail claims about alleged misappropriation of funds by Raneberg made in civil litigation in Australia.

In a civil judgment last month, Justice Thomas Gray of the South Australian Supreme Court said the law firm had only been able to document losses in the low five figures because its internal financial records had been deleted in “an apparently deliberate process undertaken by Mr. Raneberg on June 6, 2011,” the Australian reported.

Another Advertiser article says Raneberg flew to Thailand on what was supposed to be his final day of work at the law firm.

The articles don’t include any comment from Raneberg or his legal counsel.

As detailed in earlier posts, Minter Elllison is far from the only law firm that has been found to have been victimized by a trusted employee or even an associate or partner, or is pursuing a remedy for such alleged misconduct:

Former Office Manager Admits Stealing Over $1.1M From NJ Law Firm

Client Sues Crowell & Moring, Claims Law Firm Can’t Account for $5.5M in Escrow Money

Maine Law Firm Axes Former Chair, Alleges Theft

Judge Clears 6 Verrill Dana Lawyers on All Ethics Charges re Ex-Partner’s $300K Theft

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