Guilty plea over $67,000 theft

LAVINGTON woman Kathryn Ellen Michael yesterday pleaded guilty to stealing more than $67,000 from her Albury employer over two years.

Michael, 21, of Finke Court, first appeared in Albury Local Court on March 12, when it was alleged she had stolen more than $400,000.

She appeared on August 5 when she pleaded not guilty.

The figure she was then alleged to have stolen had been revised down to “in excess of $200,000”.

Michael yesterday pleaded guilty to 10 fraud matters involving Evolve Orthodontics.

She will now face sentencing on January 31 with other offences to be considered.

Prosecutor Sgt Garry Rowe said the amount stolen was now put at $67,883.21, with other charges withdrawn.

Magistrate Tony Murray was told in tendered facts Stellotto Pty Ltd, trading as Evolve Orthodontics, had its main business premises in Albury and Wangaratta and satellite offices at Bright, Cobram, Yarrawonga and Deniliquin.

The business is operated by John Brabant, founder of the Carevan Foundation which feeds homeless and disadvantaged people.

Michael began work at the Albury office in Thurgoona Street in February 2010.

She was employed as a receptionist for a three-month trial period.

She then obtained a permanent position which involved banking cash, cheques, accounting for petty cash, printing and the delivery of monthly patient accounts and receipts, along with maintaining the business management system.

In May last year, several suspicious, unauthorised transactions were noticed.

An audit revealed discrepancies.

One transaction related to an Evolve Visa card being used to make payments on Facebook to a game called Slotomania.

An investigation had revealed that it was Michael’s Facebook page.

She was approached regarding the whereabouts of the credit listing booklet for the business and she said she had it at home.

It took Michael several days to return it and she was subsequently suspended from work.

A civil action was started against her to recoup missing funds, but she applied for bankruptcy.

Police spoke to Michael in January and she admitted stealing money, claiming she had used about $4000 to pay a loan on her car.

Mr Murray yesterday ordered a pre-sentence report on Michael, who had previously been free and not on bail.

Sgt Rowe said reporting conditions and a surety were sought as part of bail conditions.

Michael was put on $2000 bail, with a $2000 surety, to report weekly to police.

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