13 Sep 2019

Auckland woman pleads guilty to defrauding school of $250,000

3:55 pm on 13 September 2019

An Auckland woman has pleaded guilty to defrauding a Māori school of approximately a quarter of a million dollars.

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Kim Symes was convicted when she appeared in the Manukau District Court today. Photo: RNZ / Anneke Smith

Kim Symes, 51, was convicted of obtaining by deception, using forged documents and dishonestly using documents, when she appeared in the Manukau District Court today.

The charges were brought by the Serious Fraud Office.

She was employed by the Māori immersion school, Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o te Tonga o Hokianga.

The Northland school has been operating since 2002, with about 100 students in years one to 13.

Ms Symes was employed as a part-time support staff administrator from 2006 to July 2017.

Her job involved maintaining the financial records, which meant she had access to the school's bank accounts and accounting records.

Responsibilities included preparing monthly financial reports, paying accounts, preparing financial information for audit, keeping accurate financial books and managing staff salary and payroll issues.

She was remanded on bail for sentencing on 26 November.