PwC partner Hong Shao accused of helping husband Di Wu siphon $3.3million from Creative Promotions

High-flying first Chinese executive at PwC Australia is accused of $3.3million fraud to buy a Porsche and pay for renovations to the six bedroom mansion she shares with her husband

  •  Shao Hong, 44 is a high-flying audit assurance partner at PwC Australia
  • She and her husband Di Wu are accused of stealing $3.3million from his bosses
  • Mr Wu allegedly created fake and inflated invoices to defraud his company 
  • They allegedly spent the money building dream home in Sydney’s north shore
  • Couple’s assets have been frozen as they face legal action to recover cash 

A history-making senior executive at accountancy giant PwC Australia is accused of helping her husband rort his bosses of $3.3million in an alleged fake invoice scam to build their dream home.

Shao Hong, 44, was the first Chinese-born audit partner to be appointed by PwC Australia when she was promoted in 2018 after moving to Australia from China and joining the firm in 2005.

But her high-flying career now hangs in the balance after a lawsuit was filed in the Federal Court accusing her and her husband Di Wu of ‘systemic fraud’.

It’s alleged they set up a complex system of bank transfers to steal the cash to fund the construction of a six bedroom home in Sydney‘s leafy north shore and buy a luxury $200,000-plus Porsche Cayenne SUV. 

Partners at PwC were today told the company only became aware of the matter on Monday and Ms Shao was now on leave of absence while she was ‘responding to this personal matter’.

Shao Hong, 44, was the first Chinese-born audit partner to be appointed by PwC Australia when she was promoted in 2018 after joining the firm from China in 2005

Shao Hong's high-flying career at PwC Australia (pictured, PwC Australia's Sydney head office) now hangs in the balance after a lawsuit was filed in the Federal Court accusing her and her husband Di Wu of 'systemic fraud'

Shao Hong’s high-flying career at PwC Australia (pictured, PwC Australia’s Sydney head office) now hangs in the balance after a lawsuit was filed in the Federal Court accusing her and her husband Di Wu of ‘systemic fraud’

Creative Promotions, a family-owned business with just five employees, allege Mr Wu stole millions from them between 2010 and 2022 by ‘digitally altering’ genuine invoices and creating other fake invoices.

‘In or about early to mid 2010, Mr Wu and Ms Shao and possibly others agreed to devise and implement the [fraudulent] scheme,’ the documents claim. 

Ms Shao is said to have committed ‘intentional wrongdoing’ in’ the ‘coordinated’ fraud, court documents obtained by Daily Mail Australia allege. 

She is accused of having ‘actual knowledge’ of the alleged fraud, or ‘had shut her eyes to the obvious’, the Chatswood-based firm’s statement of claim said.

Ms Shao ‘wilfully and recklessly failed to make the inquiries that an honest and reasonable person would make,’ the documents allege.

Ms Shao and Mr Wu have yet to file a defence.

The couple are alleged to have ploughed the cash into mortgage repayments and the construction of a sprawling mansion in the ritzy upmarket suburb of Lindfield.

Real estate records reveal they bought a single storey Pleasant Avenue home in 2016 for $2million which was later demolished, with their new home now said to be worth almost $4.5million.

Real estate records reveal the couple bought a single storey Pleasant Avenue home in 2016 for $2million which was later demolished

Real estate records reveal the couple bought a single storey Pleasant Avenue home in 2016 for $2million which was later demolished

Their new home in Pleasant Avenue, Lindfield, in Sydney's North Shore now said to be worth almost $4.5million

Their new home in Pleasant Avenue, Lindfield, in Sydney’s North Shore now said to be worth almost $4.5million

Before moving to Lindfield, Ms Shao was previously registered as living at a unit in Rhodes and prior to that, at a unit in Burwood.

The alleged fraud is also said to have bankrolled the purchase of a high-speed Porsche Cayenne GTS Coupe in May 2021 and ‘otherwise fund their lifestyles’, the court documents claim.

Ms Shao joined PwC Australia in 2005 with only basic English skills from an auditor's job with Ernst and Young in Liaoning in China

Ms Shao joined PwC Australia in 2005 with only basic English skills from an auditor’s job with Ernst and Young in Liaoning in China

Ms Shao joined PwC Australia in 2005 with only basic English skills from an auditor’s job with Ernst and Young in Liaoning in China.

She initially called herself Julia and feigned an interest in rugby to better fit in with Australian culture before reverting to her real given-name of Hong after six months.

Ms Shao was made a manager in 2008, one of just two promotions that whole year because of the global financial crisis which only saw ‘exceptional’ staff rewarded.

Her promotion to audit partner in 2018 was heralded as ground-breaking in the industry after she knuckled down and passed her chartered accountancy exams.

‘When I came to Australia, I was well established in China, had a bright future at the big four – people thought I was crazy, and maybe I am,’ she told the AFR last year.

‘I’d never even been to Australia and I’ve never worked as hard as in those first six months. I even forgot my husband’s birthday!

It's alleged they set up a complex system of bank transfers to steal the cash to fund the construction of a six bedroom home in Sydney's leafy north shore and buy a luxury $200,000-plus Porsche Cayenne SUV (a similar model is pictured)

It’s alleged they set up a complex system of bank transfers to steal the cash to fund the construction of a six bedroom home in Sydney’s leafy north shore and buy a luxury $200,000-plus Porsche Cayenne SUV (a similar model is pictured)

‘The fact that I passed a few modules with merit made me realise not only I can achieve something that my Australian colleagues could, I can actually do it better.’ 

She hailed her husband in that profile interview, adding: ‘He’s my role model and my biggest support.’

Her husband was employed by Creative Solutions for more than 15 years from 2005 as their overseas production assistant to manage and co-ordinate production with mainly Chinese suppliers, the court documents reveal.

However in August, company directors Mark Joel Isaacs, 70, and Barbara Jo-Anne Isaacs, 67, launched an investigation into 220 orders overseen by Mr Wu since 2016.

That led to further investigations which allegedly found fake or altered invoices dating back to 2010, worth $3.3million, including a fake employee called Cheng Yunfei.

‘Foreign currency payments totalling almost US$550,000 has been made from Creative Promotions’ Australian bank accounts to a Bank of China account in the name of Cheng Yunfei,’ court documents allege.

‘According to Mr Isaacs, no such person has ever been employed by the Creative Promotions.’

He’s also alleged to have sent fake or inflated invoices for payments from suppliers to be paid into accounts in the name of Yunfei or several other identities.

Some legitimate suppliers were overpaid as a result of the inflated invoices and then asked to transfer the excess back to an account held by Mr Wu, the company claims. 

Corporate high-flier Shao Hong initially called herself Julia and feigned an interest in rugby to better fit in with Australian culture before reverting to her real given name of Hong

Corporate high-flier Shao Hong initially called herself Julia and feigned an interest in rugby to better fit in with Australian culture before reverting to her real given name of Hong

The documents claim ‘a series of payments have been made from a Bank of China account in the name of Cheng Yunfei to a US dollar account at a Bank of China branch in Australia in the name of Mrs Shao’.

The from claims AU$130,00 was transferred in just two weeks in January 2016, while almost US$500,000 was transferred in regular US49,900 payments in 2015 to 2017.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars were allegedly transferred between accounts in a series of payments marked as ‘living expense in 2018 to 2020.

Other transfers – for sums ranging between US$49,900 and US$87,534 – were labelled ‘school fee’, ‘for home loan’, ‘new home’, ‘new home2’, ‘home’ and ‘slab’.

It’s alleged that cash was then transferred to her Australian dollar account and then into the couple’s joint account, with court documents detailing $5.3million of deposits.

‘Some of the entries in the bank accounts statements suggest that some of these funds were used in relation to the house which Mrs Shao and Mr Wu appear to have owned at the time,’ the court documents add.

Payments from the account include labels like ‘slab’, ‘gyprock’ ‘ground brick’, ‘concrete pour’, ‘1st floor timber/roof/brick/frame’ and reference their home’s street address. 

Shao Hong (pictured) is said to have had 'intentional wrongdoing' in' the 'co-ordinated' fraud, court documents obtained by Daily Mail Australia allege

Shao Hong (pictured) is said to have had ‘intentional wrongdoing’ in’ the ‘co-ordinated’ fraud, court documents obtained by Daily Mail Australia allege

It’s alleged Mr Wu wiped crucial evidence from the firm’s computers and altered databases after he became aware of the investigation, and claimed his company laptop had been stolen.

He’s also accused of stealing physical files from the company’s head office. 

Mr Wu was sacked by the company in August and the firm placed a freeze on the couple’s finances and assets in September in legal action to try to recover the cash.

Creative Promotions is claiming total losses of $3.3million from the alleged fraud and is demanding compensation from both Ms Shao and Mr Wu.

PwC sent out an email to all partners from Chief Strategy and Reputation Officer Sean Gregory on Tuesday after news broke of the legal action.

‘You may have seen media reports about a Federal Court claim involving one of our partners, Hong Shao and her husband, by his former employer,’ it read.

‘The firm became aware of this matter yesterday.

‘Hong is on leave of absence responding to this personal matter that is now before the court.’

SHAO HONG’S FLAWLESS CAREER DERAILED BY FRAUD ALLEGATIONS

Shao Hong, 44, has been on an apparently unstoppable career trajectory all her life – until she was embroiled in her husband’s alleged fraud scheme.

She grew up in the Chinese city of Dalian, population five million, before landing a job as one of three graduates at Ernst and Young’s Liaoning office, she claimed in an AFR profile last year.

Shao Hong, 44, has been on an apparently unstoppable career trajectory all her life - until she was embroiled in her husband's alleged fraud scheme

Shao Hong, 44, has been on an apparently unstoppable career trajectory all her life – until she was embroiled in her husband’s alleged fraud scheme

But her ambition drove her to push herself out of her comfort zone and move to Australia despite never having actually had a conversation in English before.

She joined PwC as an auditor in 2005 and initially called herself Julia in a bid to fit in, and admits she pretended to have a love of rugby, researching it in detail and talking about it at every social event.

After six months, she grew more relaxed and reverted to her birth name as she settled into her new life in Sydney.

She then successfully studied to become a chartered accountant and in 2008 was promoted to manager at PwC, one of only two promotions that year.

Ten years later she was made a partner, the first Chinese native to make that grade in PwC Australia’s history.

She’s been a strong advocate for Australian companies working more closely with China – but it’s now her husband’s alleged fraud through Chinese companies that threatens her future.

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