Fraudster took only a 'fraction' of $500,000 fraud

Opal Taylor, pictured in 2011.
JOHN COWPLAND/STUFF

Opal Taylor, pictured in 2011.

The lawyer for a woman who defrauded Hastings District Council of $500,000 says she pocked only a "fraction" of that amount. 

Opal Taylor appeared in the Hastings District Court on Tuesday. She had previously pleaded guilty to 14 charges of fraud, each of which carries a maximum penalty of seven years in jail. 

The offending started in 2004, with Taylor, then manager of Hastings Sports Centre, using false invoices to take the money. 

The Hastings Sports Centre, where Taylor was manager until earlier this year.
MARTY SHARPE/STUFF

The Hastings Sports Centre, where Taylor was manager until earlier this year.

In court on Tuesday, her lawyer Bill Calver said the "amount of what went into the defendant's pocket was only a fraction", and the council had got cleaning, and transport. 

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However, Judge Chris Tuohy said that, in his reading, all the invoices were fraudulent. 

The matter will be discussed when Taylor returns to court in November. 

She stopped working for the council this year. At the time her offending was revealed, a council spokeswoman said internal council processes had found some irregularities in invoices given to the council for payment in March 2017. 

After further internal investigations, the matter was passed to police.

The spokeswoman said no other staff were involved and, as a result of the prosecution, the council had introduced additional audit processes and controls.

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"Council has zero tolerance toward fraudulent use of council funds and assets."

 - Stuff

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