A Sydney woman is feeling shame and regret after mental illnesses such as narcissism led her to swindle millions of dollars from the National Australia Bank, a court heard on Wednesday.
Former business owner Helen Mary Rosamond developed personality disorders as a result of “pressure, abuse, misfortune and financial strain,” Downing Center District Court was told.
Rosamond, 47, spent Christmas in jail after pleading guilty to 88 counts of fraud and bribery last November.
At a hearing, clinical psychologist Marianne Plahn said Rosamond had shown considerable insight into her crimes, though the prosecution rejected claims of mental illness.
“Her general feeling was that she wanted to somehow express her regret and shame,” Plahn told Judge Robert Sutherland.
Sydney woman Helen Mary Rosamond (pictured) is feeling shame and regret after mental illnesses such as narcissism led her to defraud millions of dollars from National Australia Bank, a court heard on Wednesday
The jury found Rosamond charged personal expenses to NAB (bank branch pictured), including $228,747 for an interior decorator, $100,000 in rent, $372,611 to furnish her home, and $17,888 in artwork
“She really felt like she wanted that chance to apologize to His Honor. I thought that was kind of moving in a way and I thought that came from a very truthful place.”
Rosamond was found guilty of 59 counts of giving a corrupt advantage to former NAB Chief of Staff Rosemary Rogers and a further 29 counts of obtaining or attempting to acquire property by deception for herself. She was acquitted of two charges.
Rogers pleaded guilty to her role in the same scheme in February 2020 and is serving a prison term of up to eight years with a non-parole period of four years and four months.
Between 2013 and 2018, Rosamond gave millions in bribes to Rogers and herself by forging and blowing up invoices from her event management company, Human Group.
What is Narcissistic Personality Disorder?
Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental illness in which people have an unreasonably high sense of self-importance.
They seek attention and want people to admire them.
People with this disorder may lack the ability to understand or care about other people’s feelings.
But despite seeming extremely confident in themselves, deep down they are insecure about their self-worth and easily upset by the slightest criticism.
Source: The Mayo Clinic
Rogers said at trial that she received a house, BMW car, boat, vacations and other benefits after she approved the bogus bank bills.
The jury found that Rosamond charged NAB with personal expenses, including $228,747 for an interior decorator, $100,000 in rent, $372,611 to furnish her home, and $17,888 in artwork.
In a report filed with the court, Ms. Plahn said Rosamond exhibited symptoms of several personality disorders, including attachment disorder, adjustment disorder and narcissistic personality disorder.
On Wednesday, Ms Plahn said Rosamond was a “psychologically damaged person” drawn to toxic relationships, such as with an alleged abusive ex-husband and, later, Rogers.
“She will bond with aggressive people. She will bond with people like her colleague or boss and feel safe in their rather bullying environment.’
The psychologist said that Rosamond wanted to change as an individual.
“She didn’t want to be like that at first, but then being swept up in this vortex of toxicity is a horrific thing.”
Under cross-examination by Crown Prosecutor Katrina McKenzie, Ms Plahn agreed that Rosamond would also have benefited from her relationship with Rogers, but said she had tried to escape it over time.
“So at first it was a collaboration and then the toxicity took over.”
Rosamond’s attorney, Anton Hughes, argued that his client was the “dominated party” who couldn’t say no to Rogers as the key player in the fraudulent scheme.
“Mrs. Rogers gets the holidays. It is Mrs. Rogers who gets the extensions to her house. It’s Mrs. Rogers who gets the check for $2.2 million,” he said.
Judge Sutherland said there appeared to be a “symbiotic” (interdependent) relationship between the two women, with both enjoying personal benefits for themselves and their families.
The judge also questioned why NAB would allow someone like Rogers to approve payments of up to $20 million in funds without question.
“Frankly, it’s unbelievable,” he said.
Mr Hughes admitted that the amount defrauded was substantial and that his client’s crimes had occurred over several years.
But he argued that Rosamond’s sentence should be reduced because she had no criminal record and little chance of recidivism.
Rosamond, 47, spent Christmas in jail after being found guilty of 88 counts of fraud and bribery against NAB last November
A psychologist said Rosamond (pictured) wanted to change as an individual. “She didn’t want to be like that at first, but then being swept up in this vortex of toxicity is a horrific thing.”
Ms. McKenzie urged the court to dismiss claims that Rosamond had mental illnesses linked to the breaching and agreed with the judge on the symbiotic nature of the fraud.
“Ms. Rogers was on the couch and Ms. Rosamond was there writing the bills, checking the money and making sure things weren’t discovered,” she said.
Not only did Rosamond go through with the fraud despite nearly being caught by NAB in 2015, she also took money from the bank after Rogers left her position in December 2017, Ms McKenzie said.
Judge Sutherland will pronounce his sentence on June 30.