While her friend was out, a Palmerston North invalid beneficiary left alone in his house found the man's chequebook and wrote out two cheques worth $1600 for herself.
When her ruse was discovered, Jan Dorothy Fryer, 62, initially claimed one cheque was a gift while the other was for cleaning work.
This wasn't the case, however, as Palmerston North District Court heard yesterday.
During her sentencing on two charges of dishonestly using a document, Judge Les Atkins said Fryer was at the man's house when he went out and left her there.
She found his chequebook hidden between sheets and removed two cheques from it, forging the man's signature.
On June 7 she went to Westpac and cashed one of the cheques for $1000 and on June 25 she cashed the second one for $600 at the ANZ.
The man's bank contacted him and police investigated.
Fryer and the man had known each other for a long time, having two children together, and had recently been in contact more regularly. But in a victim impact statement the man said he was "really disappointed" and "annoyed" about what happened.
Defence lawyer Dawn Patchett said her client lived at her daughter's property in a sleepout.
"My understanding is the family is not fully aware of her being here and why she's here."
Fryer was unusual as her offending started once she hit middle age, Mrs Patchett said.
Judge Atkins noted Fryer's mental health difficulties, stemming from an "incident" in 2005.
Her pre-sentence report said she held no remorse, instead feeling sorry for herself and ashamed about her situation.
Her bank had already seized $462 from her account and Fryer said she could afford to pay the remaining $1138 at $5 a week, which would take about four years and four months.
Judge Atkins made a reparation order and sentenced Fryer to 140 hours' community work and six months' supervision.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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