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Huge bank deposits lead to lonely RBA scientist

Date

Mark Russell

Wayne Jackson.

Wayne Jackson. Photo: Michael Clayton-Jones

WHEN Lee-Anne Jeal opened a desk drawer at the Reserve Bank's damaged bank notes laboratory at Craigieburn, she was shocked to find three bags of cash, a court has heard.

The damaged notes should have been destroyed in the laboratory's furnace nearly a year earlier.

Mrs Jeal told the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Thursday she believed her boss, Wayne Jackson, a senior RBA research scientist, had taken the notes.

Jackson, 55, of Rosanna, has been charged with three counts of dealing with the proceeds of crimes involving more than $300,000 and one count of attempting to take $47,550 belonging to the RBA between May 2010 and May 2012.

A police summary tendered to the court revealed the amount of deposits made to all his bank accounts from September 2009 to May 2012 was $1,108,670.25. His wages for that period were $252,459.29.

Police claimed more than $500,000 spent by Jackson had no legitimate source.

Australian Federal Police agent Dwayne Bottomley said Jackson had not been charged with theft because police could not prove he had stolen the money from the RBA, but there was no other way he could have got the money.

Jackson, who has resigned from the RBA and drives a 2011 Mercedes Benz E250 coup, claims the money came from his savings and casino winnings.

Leading Senior Constable Bottomley said a search of Jackson's unit at Rosanna revealed a hidden safe that contained $40,000 in cash, gems, diamonds, coins and ingots.

He described Jackson as a ''lonely individual'' with few friends who had worked at the RBA for 27 years.

Mrs Jeal, a lab technician, said she had found three tamper-proof packages containing the damaged notes in a drawer in May last year. The notes should have been destroyed on June 20, 2011.

Mrs Jeal remembered Jackson once patting a bundle of notes due to be burnt and saying they were not too bad and could go back into circulation.

Giving an insight into how the RBA destroys damaged bank notes, Mrs Jeal said a maximum of 2000 notes are placed in the furnace at any one time.

Laboratory staff later check for ash. If they find ash, staff assume the notes have been burnt and three people must sign off.

Up to 50 per cent of damaged notes can be reused after cleaning with disinfectant, as was the case with Queenslanders' money damaged in the 2011 floods.

Asked about security at the RBA office, Mrs Jeal said staff were rarely checked to see if they were carrying damaged currency. Security had been stepped up since Jackson's arrest.

Magistrate Greg McNamara committed Jackson to stand trial and ordered him appear in the County Court on Friday for a directions hearing.

Jackson said he was not guilty of the charges.

mrussell@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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