Fraud victim meets young guardian angel

Emily Ewers (left) set up a Givealittle page which raised more than $3500 for fraud victim Jan Shallard. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Emily Ewers (left) set up a Givealittle page which raised more than $3500 for fraud victim Jan Shallard. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Sometimes justice is served in a courtroom; other times it requires action outside the court to redress the balance.

When Dorothy Winifred Pearson (58) stole more than $7000 from her 80-year-old South Dunedin neighbour, Jan Shallard, she was hauled before the Dunedin District Court.

In August, it heard how Pearson had helped the dementia sufferer with her shopping but before long had obtained access to the pensioner's card and pin number before steadily emptying the account.

Because the defendant was unemployed, she was ordered to repay only $3500.

And to Ms Shallard's frustration, it would be at $30 a week.

''She steals from me overnight and they make her drip-feed it back to me,'' she said.

''She owns her own house and has a nice, flash car.''

Ms Shallard's funds were so low she worried the power to her St Kilda unit would be cut off.

''Every time I switched the lights on, I held my breath,'' she said.

Then fate stepped in; in the form of a 20-year-old University of Otago student who had never met Ms Shallard.

Emily Ewers opened a Givealittle page and within days the donations were pouring in.

People whose cats Ms Shallard had looked after, people she had volunteered with at Toitu and Radio Rhema lent their support.

This week, the fund reached its goal of $3500.

And the strangers brought together by the sad case finally met yesterday for the first time.

Ms Ewers and Ms Shallard shared a hug.

''I'm just astounded one so young would care. I should know there are a lot of caring people out there, young and old, but I had just been so destroyed by this viciousness,'' Ms Shallard said.

While happy to help, Ms Ewers had mixed feelings about how her actions had thrust her into the spotlight.

''I'm kind of an introvert,'' she told the Otago Daily Times.

''Welcome to the club,'' Ms Shallard chipped in.

So what of Pearson?

She still lives across the road from her victim but will be on community detention until January.

''I've been told she wears a pretty little bracelet around her ankle now,'' Ms Shallard said.

''I get great pleasure out of that.''


why does she only have to pay back half the money?It seems very unfair I mean she should sell her car and repay this lovely lady in full.Justice not done.

All Ive got to say is this: If Dorothy Winifred Pearson had taken this money from IRD they would come after her for full repayment together with penalties (plus there would be a fine to pay). She may in fact have been required to sell her house or car.
That is what may happen to a person in business who got into difficulties financially.
So we find that this poor dear lady who was the victim has to go on suffering whilst the offender has a finely tuned penalty so her suffering is carefully moderated so as not to greatly affect her lifestyle ...and she only pays half back!
What sort of justice system is this? This situation shows about whom the system in our namby pamby society cares about the most!