A WOMAN was sentenced to a suspended seven month prison term in Mandurah Magistrates Court last week after she stole more than $27,000 from a church.
Tanya Botes pleaded guilty on Tuesday to 14 counts of stealing as a servant in April this year.
The offences took place over a four-month period in 2014 while she was employed at Church of the Way in Coodanup
The pastor of the church was in court during Botes’ sentencing.
The police prosecutor told the court Botes tried to pay the stolen money back but she had lost track of how much she had stolen.
He said Botes would record an amount on the MYOB accounting software and pocket the difference.
She was fired after four months in the job.
The disparity in funds was discovered during an audit of the church’s finances last year.
Botes was arrested in December last year and admitted to stealing the money.
Counsel for the accused told the court that during mediation, Botes had received forgiveness and assurances that God still loved her from the pastor of the church.
Botes had paid back more than $10,000 to the church, but still owed more than $16,000.
She stole her first amount of $99 on May 20, 2014.
On June 2, 2014, she stole her highest amount of $4297.
Her lawyer told the court that Botes’ son was being bullied at school at the time of the offences.
She said Botes bought her son an iPad, school uniforms and food with the stolen funds.
Counsel said Botes’ husband found out about her offending in the newspaper.
Her husband was also in court to offer support.
Magistrate Vivien Edwards said Botes’ offences were a “gross breach of trust”.
“The level of shame, embarrassment and remorse persuade me that you will not offend in the future,” she said.
She sentenced Botes to seven months in prison, suspended for a year, with program requirements.
Botes cried when she received the sentence.
She was also ordered to pay $16,226 to Ansar Insurance.