Guilty plea over fraud
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.