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Mother of four jailed for theft in Samoa

A mother of four has been jailed for four years and eight months for stealing more than $200,000 from her employer. Joyce Wilson, 35, was sentenced by Supreme Court Chief Justice, His Honour Patu Tiavaasue Falefatu Sapolu.She pleaded guilty to 109 count of theft as servant, 101 charges of forgery and 109 counts of altering or producing documents.“There is no mitigating factor relating to the offending.” His Honour said.Although her plea of guilty at the earliest opportunity he said was a personal factor in her favour.The Police summary of facts which were confirmed by the defendant said that at the time of the offending she was employed by Fletcher Construction Co Ltd as an office manager at its Vaitele office.Her duties and responsibilities included managing general office duties, looking after accounts and finances, and ensuring that the company’s creditors were paid.The accused was also one of the three signatories to the company’s cheques but the signatures of only two of those signatories were required for a company cheque to be valid.The accused would prepare a cheque for payment of the company’s expenses to various agencies and give it to the General Manager to sign.After the General Manager had signed the cheque and it was returned to the accused, the accused would use a “white out” to delete the name of the agency to whom the cheque was made out and write the word “cash” over the ‘white out’.The accused would then write her initials above “the correction” and forge the General Manager’s initials next to her initials.In this way, the correction appeared genuine and had been verified through the two initials signed next to the correction.The defendant would then take the cheque to one of the Westpac Bank branches and cash the cheque and kept the monies for her personal use.The summary of facts showed that this happened on 109 separate occasions between 11 January 2013 and 14 October 2014.All of this was done without the knowledge and authorisation of the general manager.The individual amounts of these cheques ranged from $351.54 to $18,755.The total amount of all the cheques is $228,390.12.