School secretary jailed for stealing $150,000

By Annette Hilton -
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JAILED: Former school secretary Tania McCartney has pleaded guilty to stealing $150,000 from Parkvale School. PHOTO FILE
JAILED: Former school secretary Tania McCartney has pleaded guilty to stealing $150,000 from Parkvale School. PHOTO FILE

A former school secretary has been jailed today for stealing thousands of dollars from Parkvale School in Hastings.

Tania McCartney has been sentenced at the Hastings District Court to two years, three months for taking $150,000 from the primary school, between 2009 and last year.

The 40 year old earlier pleaded guilty to charges including theft by a person in a special relationship, and using the school's credit card and cheques to obtain pecuniary advantage.

The money was taken to spend on personal items, such as contact lenses, groceries and petrol.

Judge Bridget Mackintosh told the court a total of 33 different transactions were made by Tania McCartney to her personal account and the account of her husband, to cover his business expenses. She also altered the school's accounting software to hide the missing money.

Judge Mackintosh says McCartney made a candid admission to the offending, but had no explanation for taking the money other than to cover over-spending during her emotionally difficult relationship with her husband.

She says the victim impact statement from Parkvale School reveals they are very upset over the offending, and the case has been a major blot on the school and their pride in having good moral values.

Reparation was not sought in court today as part of the sentencing, as the Ministry of Education is undertaking civil proceedings against Tania McCartney to retrieve the full amount taken.

The principal of Parkvale School Mark Gifkins and a number of teachers were in court today for the sentencing.

Mr Gifkins says it's a sad case for everyone involved, including Ms McCartney's own family, and the entire school community.

He says it allows closure for him and his wife, became Tania became a really close friend to them and the offending has really hurt.

Mr Gifkins said the stealing came totally out of the blue, and he hoped the school could recover the full amount in due course.

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