Woman sentenced over fraud

By Sandra Conchie

A Bay woman who admitted $5095 worth of fraud offences in relation to pocketing money from holiday home bookings has been sentenced to 130 hours' community work and ordered to pay reparation.

Kathryn Aileen Coyle, 51, who earlier pleaded guilty to eight charges of obtaining by deception, was sentenced in the Tauranga District Court yesterday.

The court was told Coyle acted as a booking agent for her former partner's family trust, renting out holiday baches in Pukehina and Napier. She was paid a commission for each booking.

On eight occasions, between December 3, 2009, and October 18, 2010, Coyle pocketed rent from customers who made bookings.

One customer cancelled his booking and sought a $450 refund but she failed to reimburse him.

In June last year, Coyle avoided jail after she admitted pocketing more than $13,000 for similar offences relating to the same trust, and the new charges were effectively wash-up charges.

Coyle was sentenced to 150 hours' community work, and ordered to pay $13,000 reparation, which had been paid in full, the court was told.

Some victims who booked the holiday homes were given various excuses by her regarding why the property they had rented had become unavailable, and failed to make refunds.

When one of the victims persistently called Coyle seeking a $760 refund, she faked her own death by sending him a text in which she pretended to be her mother, informing him she had died from complications after a serious road crash.

Her lawyer, Bill Nabney, urged Judge Peter Rollo to impose community work and order full reparation, arguing that if the new charges were before the court last year, Coyle would have still received community work, albeit at the greater amount.

Mr Nabney said a cheque for $5095 made out to the Justice Ministry was able to be paid in to court immediately.

He said there was no evidence before the court to substantiate the victim's claim that his family trust had suffered losses in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Judge Rollo said despite the victim's claims, he could only sentence Coyle on the proven quantified losses, and was satisfied that community work was the appropriate sanction, having regard to the contents of the pre-sentence report, testimonials, personal circumstances, and remorse.

Coyle declined to comment when approached by the Bay of Plenty Times.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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