On the same day Hamilton man Nigel Dolheguy's teenage son died in an accident, office worker Beverley Dawson began stealing more than $25,900 from his business.
The "callous" nature of Dawson's theft has prompted Mr Dolheguy to speak out as a warning to other Waikato business owners.
The 45-year-old has previous convictions for similar offending - a fact Mr Dolheguy was unaware of when he hired her to work at Eftpos Specialists (Waikato) Ltd in 2008.
The court heard that between March 2008 and December 2009, Dawson used her position as an office administrator to make 57 fraudulent transactions from the business' bank account into two of her own accounts.
Mr Dolheguy said Dawson's offending began on the same day his 15-year-old son, Kyle, died.
"[Dawson] began ripping off the business the very same day we lost Kyle and I had to leave the company in her hands," Mr Dolheguy said.
"During that time when my family was grieving she had the balls to ring me in Auckland and ask me to put more money into the company's bank account, money which she then put into her own bank accounts."
Mr Dolheguy said he did pre-employment checks on Dawson but no warning signs emerged.
"It's frustrating to know that this woman who would smile at you at work was stealing behind your back.
"She's since said that she was suffering from depression but being depressed doesn't make you a thief.
"She's just a cold-hearted bitch."
We can understand Mr Dolheguy's anger and frustration. It's hard to imagine a worse kind of fraud being committed. You'd kind of hope that a hefty and deterrent sentence was imposed on Beverly Dawson; but you'd be disappointed. We omitted this paragraph, to which we've added emphasis:
Dawson was sentenced on Tuesday in the Hamilton District Court to four months' home detention and ordered to pay $20,903.17 reparation after pleading guilty to one representative charge of obtaining by deception.
Four months' home detention? You've got to be kidding! If ever there was a case which cried out for the book to be thrown at the offender, who has previous fraud convictions this was it. Especially when the learned judge noted:
At sentencing, Judge Denise Clark said Dawson's extended offending was marked by "a degree of callousness".
"A degree of callousness" doesn't even begin to describe Beverley Dawson's actions. We reckon that Nigel Dolheguy has done a darned fine thing by going public over this nasty fraud. We agree 100% with his assessment of Dawson above!