Horse-racing enthusiast who swindled $1.5 million from world surfing champ Tyler Wright and her brothers Owen and Mikey pleads guilty to 749 charges of theft, “I’ve f’ed up and it got out of control”

Owen fleeced for 815k, Tyler for 526k, Mikey for 140k.

One year ago, the bookkeeper Shane Maree Hatton was charged with 749 counts of dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception totalling more than $1.5 million from Tyler Wright and brothers Owen and Mikey. 

Hatton, fifty-three, a family friend of the Wrights, although it was safe to assume that friendship had become somewhat strained, was a bookkeeper for the Wright’s plumbing biz.

When the kids started to rake in the sponsor cash, Hatton took on their finances, too.

World champ Tyler was celebrating her twenty-seventh birthday when she learned Strike Force Strathwallen, which was formed to investigate the case at the behest of Tyler’s manager Nick Fordham, had raided the svelte fashion-forward blonde.

In one of the greatest press releases ever issued, and which still delights one year later, police alleged Hatton spent $1.2 mill on gambling and poker machines “while the rest of it was wasted.”

The cop had tongue planted in cheek, of course, for it echoed perfectly the Irish soccer superhero George Best’s wonderful quote “I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered.”

Anyway, Hatton would slice a little off here and there, sometimes hitting four gees, disguising the transactions as “gardening” and “cleaning.” 

Owen was the first to notice the suspicious transactions. 

“I’m sorry, I’ve been gambling,” Hatton told Owen in May 2020. “I’ve f’ed up and it got out of control.”

Over the course of eight years, beginning in 2012, Owen was fleeced for $815,000 via 317 electronic transfers.

Hatton started ripping into Mikey and Tyler’s cash reserves in 2014, nailing Tyler for 526k, Mikey for 140k.

Last month, Hatton pleased guilty to four counts of obtaining advantage by financial deception and will face sentencing in the NSW District Court later this year.

Bookkeepers, accountants, whatever you want to call ‘em, are notorious for sticking their fingers in the honey pot, although their lifespans can be shortened considerably depending on the victims.

One man who ripped off Andy and Bruce Irons for a mill, as well as another thirty or so people for a total of fifty-mill, ended up at the bottom of a canyon after a mysterious car accident.

“Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy,” Andy told me at the time.

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