20 May 2009

Jail for woman who defrauded Plunket

3:33 pm on 20 May 2009

A former Plunket treasurer has been jailed for two-and-half years for defrauding the charity of more than $155,000.

Michelle Hyndman, 38, was sentenced at the Tauranga District Court on Wednesday after pleading guilty to 421 charges relating to a four-year period.

She was responsible for donations and paying bills and forged signatures and deposited cheques into her own bank account.

Judge Christopher Harding ruled out home detention, saying the magnitude and sophistication of the fraud and its impact on Plunket surpassed the amount of money involved.

The head of Plunket's Bay of Plenty volunteers, Sandy Coley, told the court the money would have been used to update two crumbling buildings in Tauranga. She says the provision of car seats, education and coffee mornings will continue.

Ms Coley says a bad apple has been weeded out and Plunket is looking to move forward in providing its services to new parents in the Bay of Plenty and New Zealand.