A Kaitaia woman who stole more than $100,000 from a national disability support charity has been granted parole.
Toddy Shepherd, 50, was released by the Parole Board on August 19, after she was sentenced in October last year to three years' jail - reduced to two-and-a-half years on appeal - after being found guilty on six charges of theft by a person in a special relationship, and one of obtaining by deception.
The first six charges were representative, meaning there were multiple offences of the same kind. The offending, involving more than $111,000, was between 2012-2015 while Shepherd worked for CCS Disability Action as regional manager of the Hononga Rawhiti region. They involved unauthorised spending on accommodation, cash withdrawals, credit card buys, flights, rental cars and petrol.
She had used the card "freely" for three years, including paying for a rental car while she was on holiday, to send flowers to her daughter, and on a personal trip to Australia with her husband.
The offending and the laying of charges predated her appointment as academy director for the Sweet As trade training course run by Kaitaia's He Korowai Trust, where she was deputy chief executive before being jailed. She was also ordered by the court to pay reparation of $111,577.67.
Sentencing Judge Deidre Orchard rejected Shepherd's claims the offending was motivated by tikanga Māori and a desire to care for others, saying she was motivated by "nothing more complicated than greed''.
In its decision the Parole Board said Shepherd has no offending history and had one year and eight months left on her sentence. Her classification in prison was minimum, her behaviour was compliant and co-operative, and she had the full support of her family.
It was submitted that the board could release her on parole, referring to the programmes she had undertaken, the self-reflection and journals she has been working on, and the work she has done with a psychologist.
Shepherd spoke to the board about the drivers behind her offending and how she would manage those issues. There had been significant events that made her feel vulnerable and gave her low self-esteem which she did not share with her support people. She has learned better ways to manage this including cultural support and asking for help.
''Ms Shepherd spoke very well to the board about the changes she has made, and
managing emotions and ensuring her behaviours are consistent with her values,'' the board said.
Conditions of her parole include that she not be involved in the handling of money, provision of advice or management of the financial accounts or transactions, of any person or entity, unless with prior written approval.