A 50-year-old Motueka woman's opportunistic crime has earned her a conviction for dishonesty.
In the Nelson District Court on Monday, Tracey Helen McCabe, who collects a sickness benefit because she is unable to work because of nerve damage in her fingers, admitted a charge of obtaining by deception after she claimed to be the of a wallet that wasn't hers.
Prosecutor Ruth Thomas told the court McCabe took the wallet dishonestly and spent the cash from it, having convinced the person who found it that it was hers.
A woman had found the wallet, with $40 inside, in a Motueka carpark. When she asked people nearby if it belonged to them, McCabe said it was hers, Mrs Thomas said.
The person who had lost the wallet contacted police, who traced it to McCabe, although details of how were not read in court.
When police confronted her about the missing $40, McCabe initially said the wallet never contained any cash.
Defence lawyer Alan Heward said McCabe accepted the wallet from the woman, thinking it belonged to her son.
She had since found $40 in her car and said it must have been "dislodged" from the wallet when she threw it onto the passenger seat.
McCabe brought the cash to court and was ordered to repay the owner whose of the wallet she had claimed.
Mr Heward said it had been a long time since his client's previous court appearances.
Her sentence should be reduced to acknowledge her early guilty plea, he said.
Judge Tony Zohrab convicted McCabe, made her repay the $40, and ordered her to pay $200 in emotional harm reparation to the the victim.
- © Fairfax NZ News