Kāpiti Woman Jailed For Huge FraudJanuary 26, 2011
A Kāpiti woman has been sentenced to two-and-a-half years’ jail for taking nearly half a million dollars from her brother’s Paraparaumu company over several years.
The family of Ann Denise Lawton, 50, wept in the Porirua District Court when she was sentenced.
She had pleaded guilty to fraud charges after taking $452,900 from her brother’s company, Kāpiti Coast Diesel Services, between 2003 and 2010.
Her lawyer said she in the grip of a gambling addiction and spent all the money on pokies.
As an office manager at Kapiti Coast Diesel Services, she changed bank details on payments to creditors so that the money could be put into her own account.
Over seven years she committed 446 separate frauds. The amounts involved ranged from $154 to $3800.
Judge John Walker said Lawton deserved credit for an early guilty plea, and seeking treatment for her gambling addiction.
She had apologised to her brother, Steve Lawton.
However, he said, the fraud had a severe impact on Mr Lawton’s business, and the Lawton family. Another aggravating feature was the repeated offending over seven years.
The sentence had to be a deterrent to others, the Judge said. .
Earlier, the Employment Relations Authority ordered Lawton to pay her brother reparations of more than $400,000.