A Kaitaia woman has been found guilty of stealing more than $100,000 from a national disability support charity, including almost $40,000 in cash and flowers, chocolates and balloons for her daughter's birthday.
Toddy Shepherd went on trial before Judge Deidre Orchard in the Kaitaia District Court in February on six charges of theft by a person in a special relationship, and one of obtaining by deception. The first six charges were all representative, meaning there were multiple offences of the same kind.
All seven charges, involving more than $111,000, relate to alleged offending between 2012 and 2015 while Shepherd worked for CCS Disability Action as regional manager of the Hononga Rawhiti region. They involved unauthorised expenditure relating to accommodation, cash withdrawals, credit card purchases, flights, rental cars and petrol.
The offending, and the laying of charges, pre-dates her appointment as academy director for the Sweet As trade training course run by Kaitaia's He Korowai Trust, where, according to the trust's website yesterday, she is the deputy chief executive.
Shepherd's defence was that her manager who said he did not give her authority to obtain a credit card was not ''objectively credible'' and his evidence should not be accepted by the court.
Further, she said, the prosecution could not prove that she had control of the credit card; that that control was in circumstances that required her to account for or deal with the property or any proceeds arising from it in accordance with the requirements of any other person; that she knew of those circumstances and that she intentionally dealt with property or intentionally failed to account for property or proceeds arising from it.
In her decision Judge Orchard said she was satisfied the elements of the charges had been proved and she found Shepherd guilty on all charges. She has been remanded for sentencing in the Kaitaia District Court on August 26.
The charges were based on 626 separate transactions on a CCS credit card that Shepherd had got in her name without the knowledge or permission of the organisation, the judge found.
The transactions were for a variety of items, including accommodation, cash totalling almost $40,000, flights, rental care hire and related expenses and petrol station expenditure. The amount stolen was $111,577.67.
Shepherd's salary with CCS was initially $95,000 a year, but that had risen to $100,000 a year, plus benefits, when she resigned.
The payments with the credit card also includes a one-off payment of $836 to Genesis Energy in October 2013 after the electricity to the property in Cable Bay occupied by Shepherd's partner and her daughter had been cut off.
On October 14, 2014, a Toyota Prado was rented from the Kerikeri Airport and returned 13 days later, having been driven 2558km and ''full of sand and damaged''. It cost a total of $5322.10, including $3033.70 for repairs.
And in two consecutive years Shepherd ordered flowers, balloons and chocolate to be delivered to her daughter for her birthday, accompanied by affectionate messages. This cost a total of $347.40.
The Northern Advocate approached He Korowai Trust chief executive Ricky Houghton for comment on whether the conviction affected the trust, but he was not able to as, he said, any comment had to come from the full board.