A Colombian woman who was part of a jewellery robbery ring that stole almost $800,000 of precious stones has been sentenced to 10 months' home detention in Auckland's Mission Bay.
The woman, 45, was sentenced this morning in the Waitakere District Court on a charge of receiving stolen goods.
She was declined name suppression, but cannot be named as her lawyer Alistair Haskett intends to appeal.
The woman, a jeweller, came to New Zealand with her then-25-year-old daughter on American passports in May last year.
Before they left America, she was contacted by jewel thief Cesar Romero, who asked her to smuggle stolen jewellery out of New Zealand for him.
On May 2, John Wertheim, a Sydney-based jewellery dealer, was robbed of $110,000 worth of jewels in Parnell.
Wertheim was sitting in his car with a bag of merchandise next to him.
One robber smashed the driver's window and reached for his car keys.
As he struggled with them, another robber smashed the passenger window and grabbed the bag of jewels.
Two weeks later, two Hong Kong-based jewellery dealers were robbed of $660,000 worth of jewels outside the Rydges Hotel in central Auckland.
As they parked, a car pulled up beside them and a group got out and attacked them, seizing their jewels.
On May 17, the woman and her daughter met Romero and were given a backpack containing the jewellery.
They tried to leave the country with the jewellery hidden in their luggage two days later, but were stopped by customs staff at Auckland Airport.
The woman and her daughter initially denied knowing the jewellery was stolen - the 25-year-old told police she thought they were exporting the jewellery to avoid taxes.
The woman pleaded guilty to a charge of receiving stolen goods in June this year.
Judge Ryan sentenced the woman to 10 months' home detention, to be served at a house in Mission Bay.
The woman's daughter was discharged of charges of receiving stolen goods and participating in an organised criminal group after the Crown offered no evidence against her.
She was granted name suppression by Judge Ryan, who ruled she might otherwise be tainted with the crime that she wasn't involved in.
The woman also faced a charge of participating in an organised criminal group, which was dropped.
Earlier this year, Romero, Javier Espinosa Agreda, Jose Roberto Jimenez-Perez, Juan Carlos Leal-Casillas and Maria Teresa Martinez admitted their respective involvements in the robberies.
They were each sentenced to terms of between two-and-a-half and three-and-a-half years in prison.
All the jewellery was recovered and returned, but the woman today gave a $5000 cheque to the court to be distributed by the Ministry of Justice to the victims of the crime.
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