A former Hastings District Council employee sentenced to jail without any order to repay almost $385,000 she was said to have stolen has been released on parole after serving just over half of the sentence.
Opal Taylor, now 62, was manager of the council-owned Hastings Sports Centre when she took the money in a fake-employees pay scam spanning 12 years. Investigated she had over the years completed 195 false invoices for amounts totalling $537,683.
In a protracted court process during which the amounts by which she benefited were disputed, she pleaded guilty in September 2017 to 14 charges of dishonestly using documents for pecuniary advantage and was sentenced to two-and-half years jail in June last year.
She had served 16 of the 30 months when released after a Parole Board hearing at Auckland Region Women's Prison on October 3.
She is now under supervision with conditions including that she must have probation officer written approval before starting any new job, have any role handling money, involvement in the affairs of any business, company or trust or be involved in providing financial or business advice.
She also faces a night-time curfew, and must attend programmes as directed by the probation officer.
The Parole Board considered Taylor's performance in custody to be well-behaved, and that she had satisfactorily completed required rehabilitation programmes, and was a low risk of reoffending.
Hastings District Council's chief financial officer Bruce Allan said it had received an insurance settlement after the incident.
It had also joined with the insurers in civil proceedings against Taylor to recover the money lost.
"Council is now satisfied that ratepayers funds misappropriated have been recovered."