A 69-year-old woman charged with stealing from a local business while working as a contract book-keeper, was sentenced in Mudgee Local Court last week for an incident the Magistrate called "disgraceful" and a violation of trust.
Sandra Gail Durrant of White Circle, Mudgee, was sentenced to a two-year Intensive Correction Order with a condition that she complete treatment for gambling issues and is prohibited from entering premises where gaming occurs and from buying lottery tickets or similar products.
She was also ordered to complete 300 hours community service and repay a total of $23,000 to the victim's of the incident.
From early 2016, Durrant had access to the business's accounts, which she was was responsible for paying.
In late 2017, the victim noticed a number of irregularities and when Durrant was asked about the matter she said "I will make this easy for you, I'll resigin" and that she would sell her house in order to pay back the money.
A number of unauthorised transactions, for varying amounts, had been made into two of her bank accounts.
She was sentenced in Mudgee Local Court last Tuesday for two counts of 'Dishonestly obtain financial advantage by deception' for 67 and 70 transactions totalling $13,000 and $10,000, respectively.
Magistrate David Day said, upon sentencing the defendant, "she stole from her employer, that's disgraceful...she was entrusted to manage the finances of the business and she violated that trust".
And noted that she was sentenced for like matters involving a different victim in August 2018, with only the timing of this occasion saving her from a prison sentence.
"Had these offences occurred after I sentenced Ms Durrant for similar offences, I would have no hesitation in jailing her today," he said.
Durrant's solicitor, Tracy Jackson, told the court that the offences took place in the context of her client's gambling problems.
Which Magistrate Day did acknowledge, calling it "a completely unresolved and out-of-control gambling addiction". And said that she was a "prime example" of the findings of Productivity Commission that "the cost to the community is much more than the streams of revenue" generated by gaming.
If you or anyone you know needs help:
- Lifeline on 13 11 14
- Gambling Help Online on 1800 858 858
- Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36