Too many bloody judges have gone soft on the crims, as we all know.
This applies to the judge who has allowed a former Wellington restaurateur to await sentencing at her Ohakune lodge – described on Stuff as “plush” – after she admitted stealing almost $600,000 donated to disabled children.
She has been bailed to live at the lodge until sentencing in March.
Well turned out in a black dress, former IHC national fundraising manager Lynn Fiebig, 56, stood impassively in Wellington District Court yesterday. She pleaded guilty to 74 counts of fraudulently using documents, and one of laundering money.
There’s something especially egregious, it seems to Alf, in dipping into the donations intended for disabled people.
Accordingly he would have locked her up while she awaits sentence, and if he did release her on bail he would have made her live in circumstances much less agreeable than thoe provided by a plush lodge at Ohakune.
Confining her to Christchurch would do the trick.
Come to think of it, being confined to Christchurch would be worse than a remand cell.
Stuff tells us Fiebig started at IHC in 2003, and was promoted to national fundraising manager in September 2007.
Between October 31, 2006, and May 25, 2009, she used fake invoices from three fictitious companies – Lander Group, Maxim Design Group and Mary Owen Transport – to steal $590,029….
The fraud was detected by a regular internal review, but only after Fiebig left IHC in June.
For IHC, the fraud was the worst 60th birthday present imaginable. The charity is still coming to terms with the loss of one-fifth of its annual fundraising revenue, and the betrayal of trust. Devastated co-workers shed tears in court as the guilty pleas were read.
Rugby legend and IHC supporter Sir Colin Meads said he was shocked by the theft.
Sir Colin, who Fiebig enlisted to be the face of an IHC fundraising scheme, told Radio New Zealand her offending “came as a huge shock” but he was pleased she had spared the charity further pain by pleading guilty.
On top of the fraud, the IHC has been whacked by the effects of an Employment Court ruling that disability support workers must be paid a minimum $12.50 an hour during sleepovers.
IHC estimates the move would cost an unaffordable $20m a year in extra wages.
Tha will gobble up a good chunk of the charity’s annual turnover of $260 million.
Obviously, they can’t afford to have another chunk – albeit comparatively small – siphoned off by fraudulent staff.
In light of this, Alf is a tad puzzled by IHC chief executive Ralph Jones.
On the one hand, he says the charity’s financial controls are sound.
On the other, he says some changes would be made to recruitment processes and to ensure one person was not responsible for so many accounting functions.
UPDATE – CORRECTION AND APOLOGY.
Alf based this post on a court report which was subsequently corrected in the Dominion-Post. The newspaper apologised for statements it had erroneously made about Alexander Fiebig and Richard Chittock. Alf likewise apologises and has removed the erroneous bit of the court report from his post.