Woman stole $140,000 from job
A Taupō woman has been found guilty of 225 charges relating to stealing more than $140,000 from a Taupō business over three years.
Stephanie Ann Elmiger has been warned she could go to jail.
Elmiger pleaded not guilty to 249 charges of theft by a person in a special relationship. She was found guilty of 225 charges following a judge-alone hearing between August 6 and 24 before Judge Tony Snell. The other charges were dismissed.
Judge Snell formally released his decision in the Rotorua District Court on Tuesday.
Elmiger was employed by Central Motor Group, a Ford and Mazda dealership owned by Richard Blakeney-Williams Snr, in 2013 as a senior administrator/ accounts clerk and moved up the ranks to general manager.
She was also employed to help with the financial accounting and oversight of Blakeney-Williams Snr’s daughter’s beauty/spa business, Diamond Laser Spa. The charges she faced related to monetary transfers from accounts she had control of, credit card transactions, payroll payment charges and a motor vehicle- related charge.
The Crown alleged she paid herself a series of payments and bonuses that were not authorised or she was entitled to, used a company credit card issued to her and a company credit card issued to another employee to make personal purchases that were not authorised or part of the general business or authorised business of the company, made unauthorised payroll payments to herself and gave a Ford Courier vehicle to a third party without accounting for it to the company.
It was Elmiger’s defence that all the monetary transfers and bonuses were authorised by the company and all credit card allegations were either not done by Elmiger or were for company business.
The judge’s lengthy decision outlines the expenses Elmiger used company funds for. These include TAB purchases, personal shopping, groceries, her personal Sky bills, her personal rates, a deposit for a car for her daughter, beauty products for Elmiger’s daughter’s business and flights for her daughter and her daughter’s boyfriend. The decision also outlines several unexplained bonuses Elmiger paid to herself.
In his decision, Judge Snell said he found Elmiger started offending shortly after starting her job.
He said the offending was able to be hidden because of the increasingly senior employment positions that she occupied, the level of trust she was afforded and different methods of concealment.
Elmiger was remanded on bail until February 1, with conditions including that she not engage in any social media commentary relating to the case.