Guilty plea over fraud

The Hastings Mail - - FRONT PAGE - MARTY SHARPE

The em­ployee who stole $500,000 from Hast­ings Dis­trict Coun­cil can be named.

Man­ager of Hast­ings Sports Cen­tre Opal Tay­lor pleaded guilty in Hast­ings Dis­trict Court last week.

Tay­lor, 60, who ceased work­ing for the coun­cil this year, pleaded guilty to 14 charges of fraud.

The al­leged of­fend­ing started in 2004. The 14 charges in­volve the em­ployee al­legedly us­ing a tax in­voice or state­ment with the in­tent to dis­hon­estly ob­tain a pe­cu­niary ad­van­tage.

Each charge car­ries a max­i­mum sen­tence of seven years in jail.

She was granted in­terim name sup­pres­sion when she ap­peared in court last month. Name sup­pres­sion was con­tin­ued when she failed to ap­pear due to ill­ness on Au­gust 29.

De­fence lawyer Bill Calver said Tay­lor ad­mit­ted to ob­tain­ing a pe­cu­niary ben­e­fit only for a small part of the to­tal sum. Name sup­pres­sion lapsed on Tues­day last week. She was granted bail un­til Sep­tem­ber 26.

A coun­cil spokes­woman said ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties in in­voices were dis­cov­ered in March, and the in­for­ma­tion was passed to the po­lice. The spokes­woman said no other staff were in­volved.

Ali­cia Kirk­patrick died at the age of 29, leav­ing be­hind three chil­dren. Left, with her mother Michelle Brown.

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