A highly trusted assistant manager who stole $88,000 worth of cash and cigarettes from an Invercargill bar has avoided prison and won’t have to repay what she took.
Sandra Maree Waddick, 58, was sentenced to 12 months’ home detention in the Invercargill District Court this morning after she pleaded guilty to two charges of theft in a special relationship.
The defendant had worked at the Northern Tavern for more than 20 years, and was in charge of weekly stock takes.
In June last year, the Invercargill Licensing Trust (ILT) investigated discrepancies in the cigarette stock levels at Waddick’s workplace.
When the defendant was questioned about these inconsistencies, she admitted she had been falsifying the figures for almost 10 years.
Following this revelation, Waddick was fired and the trust audited other areas of the Northern Tavern business.
Sandra Maree Waddick was sentenced in Invercargill District Court today. Photo / Felicity Dear
The investigation found that since May 2019, TAB betting books had not been banked.
It was part of the defendant’s duties to deposit this income, which amounted to $40,251.
Waddick explained to police that her offending gradually got worse.
She said it started when she would take a packet of cigarettes and pay for them on pay day.
That escalated to stealing two or three packets a week and ultimately she took $48,637 worth of cigarettes since 2014.
She told police she intended to pay for what she had taken but had “dug herself into a hole and she was unsure how to rectify it”, the summary of facts said.
Waddick said she felt “the trust owed her” as she had worked overtime with no extra pay.
She confessed she would spend the cash she stole from the TAB book proceeds to gamble on the pokies.
Counsel Keith Owen questioned why the ILT was not doing regular audits.
“This offending could’ve been stopped in its tracks,” he said.
Judge Duncan Harvey said that highlighted how much trust the company had placed in Waddick.
“It is likely that there was no audit because that is how much you were trusted,” he said.
Owen said his client was co-operative and honest with the police and had taken responsibility for the offending.
The ILT asked the court for “strong sentencing” and reparation of $88,000 was sought.
The judge said home detention was not a soft sentence, but reparation would be an empty order.
“You have nothing. You are not employed and it may well be very difficult for you to find future employment,” he told the defendant.
“With a great deal of reluctance, I have to say to the victim that reparation is not a viable option and no such order is made.”
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