Prison sentence for college thief
A woman who stole nearly half a million dollars from Auckland’s Lynfield College has been sentenced to 28 months in prison.
She spent it on overseas trips and clothes.
Rhonda Crabb, 64, had been employed at the school for 19 years.
She was found guilty of the theft of more than $419,000 over a sevenyear period.
Judge Kevin Glubb heard the money that was taken came from school donations, community sponsorship, and course fees.
Crabb was the school’s accounts manager.
When the theft was discovered Crabb admitted to feeling a ‘‘rush’’ from spending the stolen money.
She said it helped to ease her feelings of loneliness and depression.
Crabb was sentenced at the Auckland District Court on January 17.
The judge said the crime was sophisticated, well thought out, and a carefully controlled scheme.
‘‘This was a cynical and gross breach of trust by you,’’ he said.
Crabb was employed as the school’s accounts manager between 1996 and November 2015.
Court documents alleged the embezzlement of funds took place between 2007 and 2015.
Crabb originally pleaded not guilty in June last year.
Later she admitted to have stolen the money.
Lynfield College principal Steve Bovaird said in an victim impact statement that Crabb’s actions had affected students and staff.
He said she was a trusted colleague, had strong relationships with other staff members, and was considered a ‘‘good friend.’’
‘‘I have always trusted Rhonda and I feel betrayed by her actions,’’ Bovaird said.
He said the theft put the college out of pocket for landscape shading as well as other infrastructure development it needed.
Students and parents who had made payments were chased as the money was recorded as outstanding, Bovaird said.
Crabb’s defence counsel said she had voluntarily made significant reparation and had expressed remorse.
She had also engaged in restorative justice meetings with Bovaird.
Judge Kevin Glubb sentenced Crabb to 28 months in prison.
Crabb had name suppression but it was lifted when she appeared for the second time at the Auckland District Court on June 17 last year.
‘‘I have always trusted Rhonda and I feel betrayed by her actions’’
Lynfield College principal Steve Bovaird