A Bay of Islands businesswoman has been sentenced to home detention and community work, and ordered to pay $45,000 in reparation for failing to pay $109,358 in taxes.
Antoinette Cherrington pleaded guilty to 59 charges relating to the non-payment of tax - 30 charges relating to non-payment of income tax; seven of student loan employer deductions; and 22 in relation to KiwiSaver.
Cherrington, a director of Jabo Opua Ltd, which went into liquidation in March, appeared for sentencing in the Whangarei District Court this week.
The offences were committed between April 2009 and July 2011 and involved a total of $109,358. The Inland Revenue Department, which laid the charges, sought reparation of $96,698 after Cherrington had repaid $18,000.
The company operated as a cafe in Opua and employed between 11 and 13 employees. Sentencing Judge Simon Maude said Cherrington claimed to be a victim of the recession and juggled the cafe's income to pay her creditors.
"You decided to pay the invisible taxpayer last," Judge Maude said.
He sentenced Cherrington to 12 months' jail but converted it to six months' home detention, saying that was an appropriate punishment for the crime. He also sentenced her to 200 hours' community work and ordered her to pay $45,000 in reparation, saying the full amount sought by IRD would be unrealistic for her to repay.
The judge said Cherrington was a well respected member of the Opua community, this was her first conviction, she had expressed remorse for her actions and said she had simply been caught up in the recession and was overwhelmed by the situation.