A former Kapiti woman who siphoned millions of dollars from a nursing home business in Australia to fund her restaurants now faces a 12-year jail term if she fails to prove she has repaid the debt.
Michelle May Wallace allegedly stole $2.7 million and misappropriated $836,000 from the Gold Coast Homestead Nursing Centre over a four-year period ending in 2011, Gold Coast News website reported.
Wallace admitted she took the money to pay rent and wages at her two restaurants but claimed she had already repaid $2.5m back to the nursing home business.
The business denied Wallace had repaid the money.
In Queensland's Southport District Court last week, Wallace's sentencing was adjourned to allow her to prove her repayments, and accountants for the nursing home were ordered to show transaction records.
Wallace's lawyer, Michael McMillan, argued she had an agreement with parties at the home to borrow the money and always intended to give it back.
"The complainants were permitting her to obtain money from them for the purposes of assisting her business transactions . . . and she was going to repay it at a later date," McMillan said in a statement to Gold Coast 9 News last year. "That date hadn't yet matured."
When Wallace was first charged with fraud in 2011 and released on bail, she had to surrender her New Zealand passport.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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