Former Darwin CEO up on fraud charges

Ms Veronica Anne Cubillo, the former CEO of the North Australian Aboriginal Family Violence Legal Services Aboriginal Corporation (NAAFVLS) today appeared in the Darwin Magistrates Court on charges brought by the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations. The charges follow a joint investigation by the Registrar and the Northern Territory Police.

Ms Cubillo is facing four charges under sections 265-25(1)(c) and 265 25(3)(a) of the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (CATSI Act) and eight charges under the Criminal Code (NT) of forging and uttering documents to obtain a benefit for herself.

NAAFVLS is based in Darwin in the Northern Territory and provides legal representation and advice as well as support and referral services to Aboriginal people that are victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. It also undertakes community awareness and prevention initiatives. NAAFVLS provides its services in approximately 20 remote communities in the Northern Territory.

It is alleged that between August 2010 and May 2011 Ms Cubillo committed offences which resulted in her obtaining a financial benefit totalling $9,074.50. To obtain some of this benefit it is alleged that Ms Cubillo forged a number of documents purporting to be from Darwin businesses and submitted them to NAAFVLS for payment.

It is also alleged that in 2011 Ms Cubillo forged her contract of employment to include business class air travel for herself and an accompanying employee and private use of a NAAFVLS vehicle. Ms Cubillo is also alleged to have removed a clause in her contract that required her to obtain approval before being reimbursed for any work expenses.

One charge alleges Ms Cubillo did not act in good faith in the best interests of the corporation or for a proper purpose in relation to a funding application she submitted to a private company for $10,000.

The Registrar of Indigenous Corporations, Anthony Beven, said, ‘CEOs must always act honestly and do what is best for their corporation and not exercise their powers for their own personal benefit or greed. Where a corporation delivers essential publicly-funded services this is even more critical.’

Mr Beven acknowledged the close cooperation and assistance provided by detectives from the Northern Territory Police Fraud Squad during the course of this investigation.

Deputy Chief Magistrate Carey adjourned the proceedings to 18 December 2013.

The matter is being prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

Media contact

Patricia Gibson
(02) 6146 4743
ORIC MR1314-11
24 October 2013