3 Apr 2017

Jail for Wellington fraudster who gave fake reference

9:28 pm on 3 April 2017

A former assistant to Wellington Airport's chief executive has been jailed for forging a reference to receive a lesser sentence for misuse of a company credit card.

credit card

Photo: 123rf

Jenna Davidson, 31, appeared in the Wellington District Court today.

She was also sentenced for obstructing the course of justice and using a document to obtain a pecuniary advantage from her next employer, the Accident Compensation Corporation.

Davidson had been employed at the airport between February 2013 and August 2015, but lost her job over about $40,000 of unauthorised spending on her work credit card.

At her sentencing for the misuse of the card in January last year, what was described as a glowing reference, purportedly from her supervisor at ACC, was produced. However, it turned out she had written the reference herself using an ACC computer.

She was sentenced to six months' community detention and 120 hours' community service, and was ordered to repay what she had taken.

After media reports of the sentencing, including details about the reference, ACC started its own investigation, which revealed she had racked up almost $40,000 of personal spending on her ACC credit card too.

Court documents showed she had bought a spa treatment, clothing and homewares - including from Kirkcaldie & Stains. She spent $1050 on gambling and almost $600 on Sky Television.

She made many purchases on weekends or while on annual leave. She coded them as room hire or gift vouchers.

Davidson's defence lawyer, Mike Antunovic, today told the court his client was the victim of domestic violence throughout all of her crimes.

"Her sole motivation in respect of this offending ... was for survival, not greed. At the time and at all times, her better judgement was completely eclipsed by her own circumstances, by what she was going through - by desperation and fear."

Judge Chris Tuohy sentenced Davidson to two years' and nine months' imprisonment.