A woman who fleeced an animal charity of all its funds,
forcing it to close its doors, simultaneously robbed her
friend of her life's passion.
The 53-year-old appeared in North Shore District Court this
morning after previously pleading guilty to a charge of theft
by a person in a special relationship.
Despite those who ran the charity calling for her to be named
and shamed, Judge Roy Wade granted the woman permanent name
suppression after reading two psychologists' reports.
The judge said she was suffering from anxiety and depression
because of the court case and there was an elevated risk of
self-harm should her name be published.
He also suppressed the name of the 20-year-old charity, which
was financially unable to continue operations because of her
Over two and a half years, the woman -- who was treasurer and
had access to all internet banking accounts -- stole more
than $10,000 from the organisation established by one of her
She made 83 payments from the charity's account to her own
but masked the fraud by listing them under legitimate
A volunteer of 10 years, who cannot be named, said the head
of the charity could not believe what had happened.
"She's absolutely devastated. It was her baby, her passion
for 20 years. The fact [the offender] was her friend has
doubled the betrayal," she said.
The pair attended a restorative justice conference with the
offender but left totally unsatisfied.
"She showed absolutely no remorse," she said.
Despite the charity shutting down, the experienced volunteer
continued its work but now had to spend nearly $100 a week to
carry out her duties.
"The devastating thing was she was quite a good friend . . .
she would've had no doubt of the effects [of her offending]
on me." She said one of the most shocking aspects was the
audacity of the crime.
On two occasions, the fraudster invited the head of the
charity on trips to Australia, but unknown to her friend,
paid for the trips by dipping into the organisation's bank
Her lawyer Henry Laubscher said the offending occurred after
her ex-partner persuaded her to invest in a business, which
The woman lost her house and was struggling to make ends meet
when the theft began.
She had already repaid $3000 before today's sentencing and
had a cheque for $2000 to be handed over.
Judge Wade ordered the remainder of the reparation be paid at
$75 a week.
A member of the charity said there was an initial offer by
her son to pay back the entire reparation sum if they dropped
the charge against her but after a committee meeting they
decided against that course of action.
Judge Wade called the offending "an appalling breach of
trust" but took into account the fact this was her first
He sentenced her to 100 hours community work and a year's
supervision in which he directed her to undertake appropriate
courses to address her drinking problem.
By Rob Kidd of APNZ