Fraudster's crimes a 'serious breach of trust'
A Mighty River Power employee entrusted with looking after its finances has been sentenced after defrauding the company of more than $4000.
Jessica Doreen Cunningham, of Hamilton, was sentenced in Hamilton District Court yesterday on six charges of obtaining by deceptionn.
Cunningham, 32, was employed as business support co-ordinator at Mighty River Power and had access to the firm's accounts, as a delegated financial authority.
Cunningham racked up bills on the company's accounts during four months last year. In July, she spent $400 at Asure Alfresco Motor Lodge. Then on October 20 she took $1412.62, followed by a stay in Chantilly's Motor Lodge valued at $175 on October 22. On October 31, she clocked up a bill with catering company Sauce Catering for $1082.15, took another $599.40 on November 1, before charging up a Hertz Rental car three days later for $618.21.
Cunningham's lawyer, Annabel Cresswell, said it was her client's marriage breakdown that led to the offending.
"Ms Cunningham is a solo mother, is separated from her husband and he provides no assistance at all and she has been doing everything for herself. This came out of desperation, doing everything; raising her children, working and trying to make ends meet."
Ms Cresswell said Cunningham quit her job when her employer found out about her offending and, for the past five months, had voluntarily been doing community work and since paid back some of the money.
Given that work and clean history, Ms Cresswell asked Judge Glen Marshall to hand down a sentence to appear if called upon - a penalty-free sentence.
But Judge Marshall did not agree.
Judge Marshall said Cunningham's crimes were a serious breach of trust and they were carried out on several occasions.
Cunningham was convicted and sentenced to 150 hours' community work and ordered to pay the outstanding reparation amount of $1452.59.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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