Face of an embezzler

FAKE CHEQUES

A WOMAN has admitted to embezzling almost a million dollars from her Armidale employer.

Stephanie Louise West, 51, will learn her fate later this year after she pleaded guilty to 71 fraud charges over a five year crime spree.

West ripped almost $900,000 from the Armidale business by writing out false cheques between 2008 and 2013.

When police came after her in October last year, she had already passed 89 fraudulent cheques.

West’s solicitor Elizabeth Stahlut said there was no more time needed for negotiations.

“My client has indicated pleas of guilty to all 71 charges,” she told Armidale Local Court this week.

Crown prosecutor Peter Woods tendered the brief of evidence against West which contained an extensive set of facts.

West’s offending unravelled when her employers raised suspicions about 

missing funds from the local business.

Police were called in and soon concentrated their efforts on West who was working at the business.

The investigation came to a head when detectives arrested her in October and raided her Armidale home seizing computers and other documentation.

She was originally charged with 66 fraud offences before further charges were laid late last year and again in February this year, after a further review of evidence.

Magistrate Karen Stafford has ordered a pre-sentence report to outline West’s background and to see if there are any alternatives to jail in sentencing.

The court heard West, who no longer lives in Armidale and now resides in Sydney, will be sentenced in August in Armidale District Court.

West remains on bail.

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