Pregnant fraudster gets extra term of home detention after plea change

Virginia Rose James was sentenced to  one month of home detention after she pleaded guilty to another charge related to ...
ANDY JACKSON/Fairfax NZ

Virginia Rose James was sentenced to one month of home detention after she pleaded guilty to another charge related to her workplace fraud.

A pregnant fraudster has received an extra month of home detention after pleading guilty to another charge related to the $705,000 fraud of her former employer.

On Tuesday, Virginia Rose James, entered a guilty plea to a charge of using a document.  

She previously pleaded not guilty and was due to appear in the New Plymouth District Court for a case review.

However, the mother-of-three changed her plea to guilty and Judge Chris Sygrove convicted her and sentenced the 33-year-old to a further month of home detention.

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This will be cumulative on the nine month term imposed by Justice Robert Dobson, after James' successfully appealed to the High Court against her two year, nine month jail sentence earlier this month.

The original jail term related to two counts of forgery and one of obtains by deception, which she pleaded guilty to in January. 

During her appeal hearing, it was argued the jail sentence was disproportionately unfair as James' latest pregnancy had been assessed as "high risk". The court heard how James' obstetrician stated there was a high chance her uterus could rupture and she would require urgent surgery.

James' lawyer said the high risk nature of the pregnancy should have be weighed in as part of the mitigating factors at sentencing.

Justice Dobson agreed and cut the jail sentence to 23.5 months, converting this to nine months' home detention.

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James' offending targeted her former employer, Taranaki based energy infrastructure company Powerco.

Between April and December 2015, she created invoices which she sent off for payment, netting her $316,554.

She created a new supplier form by deleting the name of a bona fide company and using a fictitious one instead. James' personal bank details were used as the fake company's account.

In early February 2016, an email was sent to the account querying a GST number for Impact Solutions.

At this point, James created another fake entity called ADR and used this company to obtain a further $388,550.

All up, and over a period of 14 months, James stole about $705,000.

Some of the stolen money taken was used to fund a $800 a day gambling habit while other funds were used to buy  a boat, a car, a new kitchen, finance an overseas trip and pay back other loans.

 - Stuff

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