Sentence appeal: Former manager for The Benevolent Society Rebecca Aneku. Picture: LinkedinA former employee of The Benevolent Society, who was involvedin a Hurstville-based foster care program,has been sentenced to three years jailwith a nonparole period of 18months after submitting fake invoices totalling more than $105,000.
However, Rebecca Lee Anekuwasgranted conditional bail after lodging an appeal against the sentence, which was handed down today in Sutherland Local Court.
The appeal is due to be heard inthe Downing Centre District Court on July 7.
Aneku, 38, pleaded guilty to 19 counts of dishonestly obtainingfinancial advantageby deception during a court appearance in April.
A tip off to her former employer led to police investigating 19 invoices worth $105,600between January 2013 and July 2014.
She was arrested and charged in November.
Police allegedAneku approved invoices for training packages which werethen reimbursed to an account under the name R. Field.
Police said during the investigationthey found that R.Field was Ricky Field, the brother of Aneku.
Police said that those training packages were never delivered.
Aneku worked as a managerin the Fostering Young Lives program based in Hurstville.
The programsupports children and young people in Sydney who cannot live at home with their birth families.
In her role she was able to authorise payments for services of up to $5,000 which would then be invoiced to theThe Benevolent Society.
The Benevolent Society said in a statement it was “shocked” that a trusted employee had allegedly misappropriated $105,000 from the organisation’s foster care service over 18 months from January 2013.
“I am shocked and deeply disappointed that trusted staff could have stolen from a service that supports extremely vulnerable children,” acting chief executive Matt Gardiner said.
“I can assure our clients, staff and government funders that no services have suffered as we were able to cover any shortfall from our own funds.
“When The Benevolent Society was originally informed by police in June 2014 that they were investigating this case, our immediate action was to suspend the employee and launch an independent, external forensic investigation.
“The auditor worked closely with police to find out what happened and how it could have happened.
“We view this matter extremely seriously and have thoroughly reviewed our internal controls and financial reporting procedures, to ensure the organisation is protected from fraud.
“The alleged financial impropriety did not involve any funds received from donors, nor have any services to members of the public been affected.
“Our work with disadvantaged people and some of the most vulnerable members of society continues unaffected by this incident.”
The case followed one in October last year inwhich a former employee of Meals on Wheels was charged after allegedly pocketingalmost$150,000 in cash payments for Meals on Wheels servicesover more than six years.
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