Mum who pilfered cheerleading fund faces jail

A woman who stole thousands of dollars from her daughters' cheerleading squad to fund a gambling habit could be facing prison time after the victims rejected restorative justice.

Carlynn Saunders-Clarke has admitted three charges of causing loss by deception after taking an estimated $8900 from cash being raised by the Whangarei squad for a trip to Queensland.

Saunders-Clarke, 30, who now lives in Auckland, asked for a restorative justice process to be invoked, and was told at Waitakere District Court on Monday that it should be in Whangarei.

But Judge Lindsay Moore was told by prosecutor Johann Schlebusch today that at least two of the victims were "strongly opposed to any form of restorative justice".

Saunders-Clarke's lawyer Victoria Letele asked if some efforts could be made to enable restorative justice through a facilitator, but Judge Moore disagreed.

"If the victims are not willing to participate, that's the end of it," he said.

"This is a sizeable sort of fraud, and in a lot of cases like this people get very angry." Judge Moore asked for reports on probation, reparation and emotional harm before Saunders-Clarke's scheduled sentencing in November.

He gave no sentence indication, except to say "that her liberty is very much at risk".

In 2007, Saunders-Clarke had two daughters in a Whangarei cheer squad, which was fundraising for a trip to Australia.

The Fantasy Cheerleading Team did end up making the trip to the Gold Coast after parents chipped in with more money.


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