It was a "dark day" for a Gore mother of seven who was sent to jail after stealing almost $500,000 from her employer.
Janice Raewyn Keenan, 54, of Upper Charlton, appeared before Judge Phil Moran for sentencing in the Gore District Court yesterday. She was sentenced to three years and 10 months' jail for defrauding Hokonui Rural Transport of $457,639.95.
Keenan, a mother of seven, admitted the 53 charges in July: 52 of dishonestly using a cheque, which was representative of 217 offences, and a representative charge of forgery between December 9, 2008, and April 8 this year.
Judge Moran said yesterday was a dark day for Keenan.
Keenan started working for the company in Gore in 2007 as an office administrator - a role in which she was trusted with the company's money.
Her job included banking, accounts payable and receivable, payroll and invoicing, and she had control of social club money.
Keenan and another person were authorised to write cheques from the social club account, Judge Moran said.
Keenan began operating two chequebooks within the social club. When customers paid their bills, she would clear the customer's account to show no money was owing, but would bank the money into the social club account. Then she would take the money out for herself.
"Heaven knows what you did with all this money."
In an earlier appearance, the court was told she had spent the money on mortgage payments, accommodation and giving her children money, but she could not account for the total amount.
At the sentencing, Judge Moran said the breach of trust was "enormous". The company had relied on her not to rip it off, but that trust was misplaced.
The victim impact statements, written by officers of the company, said they were devastated by her deceit and had suffered a huge loss, Judge Moran said.
She was unable to pay reparation, he said. He accepted Keenan was remorseful and had co-operated with police and owned up to her offending.
Keenan's lawyer, Max Winders, said his client regretted the offending and appreciated it was wrong.
When Keenan was interviewed by both the company and police she was co-operative and admitted the offending, he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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