Two-Time world champion Tyler Wright’s former bookkeeper was arrested last week for embezzling over $1.5 million from the surfer and her family, according to reports.
Shane Maree Hatton was taken into police custody in Nowra on the New South Wales coast and charged with 749 counts of dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage by deception over a period of 10 years, according to Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald.
Hatton, 53, managed the Wright family’s plumbing business books for decades as a friend and neighbor. She moved on to overseeing Tyler, Owen, and Mikey Wright’s finances once they started surfing professionally in the late 2000s — Tyler was only 14 years old when she started her professional career.
The NSW Police Financial Crime Squad received tips regarding the alleged embezzlement after Tyler’s agent Nick Fordham discovered inconsistent numbers in his client’s finances. The squad launched a probe to investigate his concerns in October, 2020.
According to State Crime Command director Detective Chief Superintendent Darren Bennett, this sort of crime is unfortunately frequent in those looking to take advantage of big earners.
“There is a trend of family friends and relatives, who are less than qualified, managing large amounts of money and they can’t resist the temptation of taking some of the money for themselves,” Bennett told the Daily Telegraph in an interview. “The first thing they need to do is employ reputable companies, not family friends to handle their careers.”
Hatton went quietly into police custody early Wednesday morning. A search warrant was activated, and police searched her house for any electronic devices and financial records.
The investigative team does not have high hopes for the return of the stolen funds, believing that over $1.2 million has already been lost to gambling.
Hatton will have her day in court April 26, the same day that ends the holding period of the Rip Curl Narrabeen Classic, to which Tyler and Owen are expected to compete.