28 Oct 2011

Theft forces Catholic credit union into liquidation

6:31 pm on 28 October 2011

A Catholic credit union faces liquidation because of a former employee's theft of more than $1 million from its accounts.

Susan Hagai, 44, was sentenced in the Wellington District Court on Friday to four years and two months in prison, having pleaded guilty last month to five charges of fraud.

She stole $1,242,750 from the Hibernian Catholic Benefit Society and the Hibernian Credit Union over six years from 2004.

The society's president, Mike McBride, says her offending has had a terrible impact on those who invested money with the organisations.

He says she took the life savings of many people, and those who still have money invested with the credit union face losing half of it in the liquidation.

Judge Susan Thomas said an aggravating feature of Hagai's offending was that many of those she stole from were vulnerable.

Hagai, who wept while being sentenced, was also jailed concurrently for the theft of $15,000 from a subsequent employer.