Woman steals $80K from P&C’s after school care funds
WHEN Tamara May Brier-Mills was told she would spend the next six months in jail, she collapsed.
The 40-year-old wife and mother pocketed more than $80,000 over five years from the Edge Hill State School Parents and Citizens' Association outside school hours care.
Brier-Mills had been employed in a full-time administration role since 2005. Her offending was between January 2011 and February 2016.
P&C Association president Kier Shorey said it had been particularly distressing for Brier-Mills' work colleagues, who had considered the woman a friend.
"That betrayal of trust has had a very significant effect on them," Mr Shorey said.
"It has been a real shock and disappointment for everyone involved in the school community.
"It's not the school (or the) committee the money got taken from, it's the children."
Pat Nevard, for Crown prosecutions, said parents paid the P&C Association through a variety of means including cash, cheque, EFTPOS, direct debit and BPay, which were mainly processed by the defendant.
She pocketed the cash payments and created fake bank summaries to hide her offending.
Brier-Mills also paid false invoices from the association's bank account worth $984.31 and used funds to make private purchases worth $1124.
Mr Nevard described it as "systematic and persistent" with a level of sophistication.
Defence barrister Peter Feeney said his client, who was aged 34 to 39 during the crime spree, had been working since she lost her job after being charged.
Cairns District Court was told her mental health had been on a downward spiral during her offending, which came against a background of family financial hardship.
Judge Dean Morzone said she committed her offending with an impaired state, but that at no time was she incapable of controlling her actions.
Brier-Mills, who pleaded guilty to one count of fraud, became emotional when she was jailed for three and a half years, to be suspended after six months. She must pay back $25,000 over four years.