Food voucher fraudster begs not to go to prison

Instead of celebrating her birthday, Donna Burgess was in court begging the judge not to send her to jail for fraudulently obtaining food vouchers.

The 47-year-old admitted accessing a computer for a dishonest purpose and using a document for pecuniary advantage and appeared for sentencing in Whangarei District Court last week.

Burgess said she fraudulently acquired $600 worth of vouchers to feed her dog as she was struggling financially.

Judge Simon Maude said that on June 21, 2012, she obtained the credit-card details of Tracy Anne Baird without consent.

She obtained $600 worth of vouchers from Farro Fresh Supermarket, using the credit-card details, and redeemed them.

The crime was discovered after the complainant noticed the transaction.

Judge Maude said Burgess had seven prior convictions for dishonesty offences.

She sobbed and at one stage said: "Don't send me to jail."

Burgess was sentenced to three months' home detention and ordered to pay $602 in reparation.

- Northern Advocate

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