Scammer given stolen money

Last updated 05:00 01/07/2014

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A former Positively Wellington Tourism employee who stole more than $27,641 sent most of it to a man who was scamming her online.

Carolyn Jane McEwen has been given five months' home detention for taking the money from the non-profit council-controlled organisation.

Her lawyer, Kevin Preston, told Wellington District Court judge John Walker yesterday that, after her 13-year marriage ended, she began talking to an American man online. He promised to come to New Zealand but asked for money, which she sent him.

McEwen, 44, of Stokes Valley, was responsible for processing vouchers from the i-Site visitor centre in Civic Square, where people booked for events. Positively Wellington Tourism took a percentage, and the money was banked online. But McEwen altered the account to her own, making nine separate transactions.

Preston said she was naive, and embarrassed and angry at herself. She had felt isolated, and was worried she would be alone forever. As a result, she funnelled 80 per cent of the money to a man she had never met.

McEwen pleaded guilty to theft between November 20, 2012 and July 30, 2013. A further charge of illegally accessing computers systems was withdrawn.

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- The Dominion Post

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