A FORMER childcare worker has narrowly avoided jail after admitting to stealing money more than 100 times from her employers over a four-year period.
A remorseful Jenny Mason has vowed to pay back more than $7000 she stole from after-school programs at Porepunkah Primary School from 2009 to 2013 and Bright P-12 College in 2013.
The mother-of-two appeared in Myrtleford Magistrates Court last Friday and pleaded guilty to two charges of theft and one charge of deception, after lawyers made a plea bargain to reduce more than 120 police charges to just three.
Mason was convicted and sentenced to nine months in prison, with the sentence suspended for 12 months.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Mario Eliades told the court Mason was employed as Porepunkah Primary School's after school care program coordinator in 2009.
"She was solely responsible for creating invoices in the school finance system, using the Kids Wizz child care management system," he said.
"From December 2009 to July 2013 she took payments from parents and on 60 occasions did not give those payments to the school office, the amount totalling $4870.
"She created false computer entries to give the appearance the parents were paying their accounts."
Sgt Eliades said Mason was recommended for a similar role at Bright P-12 College, which she commenced in April 2013.
"This school operated on a cash payment system with manually written receipts," he said.
"On several occasions she did not take the entire payment to the office."
Sgt Eliades said Mason made computer entries to give the appearance parents had been overcharged and were being refunded.
"In seven months' employment she misappropriated $2224.11," he said.
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