A BUNDABERG mum has been jailed after she stole more than $4000 from a charity and used it to pay bills and buy gifts for herself and her family.
Vicky Wilson, 36, was working as a supervisor for Meals on Wheels, a charity that helps to feed the elderly and disabled, when she began stealing the money early last year.
"On six occasions she failed to bank the takings," police prosecutor Sergeant Barry Stevens told Bundaberg Magistrates Court yesterday.
Sgt Stevens said Wilson kept the money she was meant to bank between February 8 and March 11 last year, stealing a total of $4036.35 from the charity in amounts ranging from $436.40 to $902.40.
"This was discovered during an audit," he said.
"The defendant stated she remembered taking the $902.40 to Westpac but, when she arrived at the bank, it was closed.
"She used the cash to buy her son a birthday present from Target, to purchase groceries and other things for herself."
Sgt Stevens said the woman said on another occasion she used the stolen cash to pay her electricity bill.
Defence lawyer Cathy Tallon appeared for Wilson, a mother-of-three with two teenage sons aged 14 and 17 still under her care.
"The children are dependant on my client to some degree," she said.
Ms Tallon said when her client first started working for the charity she would organise barbecues, which she paid for out of her own pocket.
She said despite Wilson's requests, she was never reimbursed about $350 for the barbecues and that fact was in the back of her mind when she began pilfering money from the charity.
"This originated from a moment of stupidity," she said.
"She found herself in a spiral she could not control."
Magistrate Jennifer Batts sentenced Wilson, who pleaded guilty to stealing as a servant, to nine months jail with parole release on July 24.
She also ordered the woman to pay $2000 restitution to the charity.
"As a supervisor employed by that agency, you were given a significant degree of trust and these offences demonstrate a significant betrayal of that trust," Ms Batts said.
"That is a substantial amount of money for an agency like that to lose."