A woman described as a trusted employee spent $312,000 of company money on her wedding, home renovations, school fees and debt.
Jennifer Ann Taylor, former general manager at the New Zealand Jersey Cattle Breeders Association, pleaded guilty at the Hamilton District Court yesterday to false accounting, seven charges of theft by a person in a special relationship and 14 charges of dishonestly using a document.
Police said the Cambridge 43-year-old's misappropriation of funds went back to when the not-for-profit association first began keeping bank records seven years ago.
Her offending included writing cheques from the association's account for her wedding catering and home renovations, and racking up thousands of dollars' on the organisation's credit card. Taylor also paid dental bills and school and sporting fees.
She was dismissed from her job last year. At the time, Taylor - who had worked there since 1993 - was earning $91,000 a year and had a company car.
According to police, the former administration manager, promoted to general manager in 2008, was a trusted employee who had virtual autonomy in running the business.
However, in March last year, gaps in Taylor's cover began to emerge. Her refusal to provide account information resulted in the resignation of the organisation's auditors and sparked an investigation.
Police discovered Taylor had been direct crediting her personal bank account with association funds, payments she disguised within the Microsoft Moneyworks system as being for suppliers or other companies. It also emerged Taylor had been depositing funds into her personal bank account from the association's cheques, which she had signed for. The cheques were supposed to have two signatories before being processed.
Police also found Taylor paid for several thousands dollars of catering for her wedding in April last year, as well as a builder for renovation work using cheques from the association.
The company credit card bill showed Taylor had spent almost $14,500 on personal expenses over eight months in 2008.
The association, which has about 500 members and a turnover of about $500,000, initiated disciplinary proceedings under the Employment Act against Taylor where she admitted "borrowing" $44,000, of which she had paid back $11,000 through a fortnightly automatic payment.
In total she directed $204,000 of her employer's money on 232 occasions into her own accounts, and wrote $41,700 worth of company cheques for personal expenses. The biggest single payment was a cheque for $7202 in August 2013 to pay a Baycorp account.
The amount misappropriated on the work credit card was more than $66,500. Police said Taylor had enough equity in two residential properties to make a substantial reparation to the association.
Brian Carter, association president, had no comment about the case last night. Attempts to contact Taylor were unsuccessful.
Taylor will be sentenced in June after a restorative justice process.
- Additional reporting: Teuila Fuatai