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Kings lesbian love triangle
Kings lesbian love triangle

Lesbian love triangle defrauds jeweller of $1.4 million

In a tale resembling a Hollywood plot, a lesbian love triangle, involving blackmail and fraud, has robbed an Australian jewellery chain of $1.4 million and forced the closure of six of the company’s stores.
A Brisbane court has sentenced Luisa Touli to nine years’ jail for blackmailing her partner who worked as an accountant at Kings Jewellers’ into stealing $1.4 million to feed her alcohol and gambling problems.

A third woman, also a partner of Touli at the time, had money paid into her account by the bookkeeper to pay for the debts incurred by 40-year-old Touli.

The court was told Touli manipulated the two women, and had "emotionally blackmailed” Anna Rajkowski, an accountant at Kings Jewellers, into stealing $1.4 million from the business, the Courier Mail reports. 

Touli had threatened suicide if Rajkowski didn’t complete the frauds.

Store closures
The theft took place over two years and four months (July 2007 - November 2009). The court heard that the financial loss to the business forced the closure of six Kings Jewellers stores and caused 60 staff to lose their jobs.

Former Kings Jewellers storefront
Former Kings Jewellers storefront
Kings Jewellers was owned by Queensland Wholesalers, which also operates Anthony’s Fine Jewellery stores. The court was told that before the frauds, the company had more than 12 Kings stores across Australia.

According to Jeweller’s 2010 State of the Industry Report, there were eight Anthony’s and three Kings stores and, at the time of the December study, Kings had recently closed two stores and rebranded one as Anthony’s. 

In June, Jeweller reported that the South Australian-based retailer Shiels Jewellers was expanding into Queensland and had acquired two of the remaining King stores.

At the time Kings managing director Rick Jobson said he was selling the stores to Shiels so he could focus more directly on Anthony’s Fine Jewellery. There are now currently seven Anthony’s stores. 

Even though the Kings website is still online showing three stores, all are closed. 

A victim impact statement from Jobson was tendered to the court while Prosecutor Ken Spinaze said, ''That company [Kings] now through this offending has had its reputation tarnished and will probably never again reach the heights it once did.”

Financial power
Rajkowski had begun working at Kings Jewellers in 1998, where she became ''a most trusted employee'' and bookkeeper, with the power over the financial records of the company.

Spinaze told the court Rajkowski made more than 400 individual transactions over a 26-month period, transferring money, sometimes daily, into a bank account held by Touli and to that of fellow Kings’ employee Faagata Uelese, 23.
In all, $1.163 million was placed into Touli’s account and $226,000 deposited into Uelese’s account. Rajkowski was also said to have transferred $38,000 into her own account.

Spinaze said Touli would withdraw money from Uelese's account when she reached the daily limits of her own account. He said the acts were done to feed the gambling and drinking habits of Touli.

The court was told Touli had frittered away the money by spending her days at a Brisbane hotel playing the pokies.

Spinaze identified Touli as the principal offender, adding that she had “corrupted” then-partner Rajkowski, manipulating her into committing the fraud.

Touli and Uelese pleaded guilty to the large-scale fraud.

Brisbane District Court Judge Hugh Botting sentenced Touli to nine years' jail. She will be eligible for parole in November 2015. Uesele was given a two-year suspended prison sentence and two-and-a-half years probation. Her defence lawyer argued that she had a mild intellectual disability that made her vulnerable to manipulation.

Jobson confirmed to Jeweller that although he was not required to attend the Touli and Uelese trial because both had plead guilty, he had been summonsed to appear in Rajkowski's matter, which is listed for trial on February 18 next year.

Kings Jewellers website still "live".
Kings Jewellers website still "live".

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