An HR manager from a local law firm has been jailed for three years after stealing approximately NZ$400,000 over a period of nine years.
Facing charges on Wednesday (27 January), Charmaine Herron said she stole the money to “save [her] family”.
Prior to the hearing, she said she stole from the firm – which is currently under name suppression to preserve its reputation – after being inundated with debt after a marriage breakup.
“I'm really sorry that I betrayed everyone,” she said. “I hated every minute of it, but it was a means to an end.”
However, Judge Alistair Garland told the court that Herron’s crimes were premeditated and sparked by “greed not need”.
“Your motivation appears to have been lifestyle choices,” he said.
While in her HR role, Herron falsified 148 payroll entries over nine years – paying NZ$400,969 into her account.
She resigned in 2015 after coming under investigation for fraud.
As well as cooperating with authorities once the offenses were uncovered, Herron also sold her house to pay back around NZ$170,000 of what was stolen.
Herron’s defence counsel, Glenn Dixon, sought final suppression of her name on the grounds of extreme hardship. The Crown opposed the application however.
“If I was to suppress your name … then future employers would be unlikely to know of your dishonesty unless of course you disclosed it,” Judge Garland said.
In addition to the jail term, Herron was ordered to pay NZ$50,000 towards the remaining reparation on gaining employment after her release. Any position taken would be one where she wasn’t handling money, Judge Garland noted.