A Queensland businesswoman accused of misappropriating funds over a number of months allegedly told an associate she was in "deep trouble" as it all came to a head.
The former chairwoman of Queensland-based childcare provider G8 Education, Jennifer Joan Hutson, is accused of taking almost $1 million from the company to purchase shares for herself in 2015.
It came months after a $15 million trust fund was set aside by the company, which was going through a period of acquisitions.
Hutson, a lawyer who resigned as G8 chairwoman in October 2015, faces charges including dishonestly failing to exercise her powers and discharge her duties as a director and attempting to pervert the course of justice.
Details of the accusations have come to light at Hutson's committal hearing in Brisbane Magistrates Court on Monday.
The case against her allegedly dates back to April 2015 with plans to take over another childcare provider Affinity Education, prosecutor Glen Rice QC told the court.
When Affinity was not interested in a merger G8 Education embarked on a takeover bid, buying 19 per cent of Affinity, which is the threshold before takeover rules apply, on July 6.
At about the same time G8 kicked off a plan called "Project Junior" with a Chinese consortium called ISOLA.
It involved $15 million of G8's money being transferred to a trust as a show of faith that they were serious about a separate agreement, which could have seen them combine assets.
Mr Rice said it was then that Hutson engaged in a "dishonest scheme" which involved funds from the $15 million trust being "misappropriated".
The court was told Hutson allegedly transferred funds to a third party called West Bridge Holdings to buy more Affinity shares.
In early August the "Project Junior" plan was abandoned and arrangements were made to return the $15 million.
But Hutson had allegedly spent $8.5 million on Affinity shares.
G8 had $100 million in another trust account to fund takeovers, the court was told.
So Hutson allegedly transferred $10 million from that account to make it look as though no money had been moved.
"In short ... (it) was for her benefit to effectively cover up a shortfall of $8.5 million that had been spent on share purchases," Mr Rice said.
Amid all this millions remained in the "Project Junior" trust account.
So when Hutson received a call from ANZ bank offering a special placement of shares for "sophisticated investors" she allegedly took $928,000 from the account and purchased 30,000 shares for herself.
"The prosecution will say that is a simple misappropriation of G8's money," Mr Rice told the court.
She sold the shares on September 9 for a loss of $90,000 and the money she took without permission was returned on September 29, Mr Rice said.
Hutson allegedly said to a witness that "she would be in deep trouble if there was no explanation" for the money taken, the court was told.
The committal hearing is expected to run for about two weeks.
Australian Associated Press