A woman who stole $180,000 from her Evans Head employer has been taken into custody while awaiting her sentencing.
A woman who stole $180,000 from her Evans Head employer has been taken into custody while awaiting her sentencing.

'I'm embarrassed': Woman defrauded employer of $180,000

A WOMAN who defrauded her Evans Head employer of $180,000 has been taken into custody while awaiting her sentencing.

Tracey Louise Hughes, 56, appeared before Lismore District Court on Monday where she was set to be sentenced for dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception.

Following their investigations, police found Hughes had fraudulently transferred the funds from her employer, an Evans Head medical service, for almost seven years from January 12, 2012, until early January 2019.

Throughout that time, she had successfully transferred almost $180,000 into her own bank account through 330 transactions.

Hughes, who had remained on bail until Monday, told the court she had used the money to pay off the mortgage on her North Lismore home, rates and other bills before she started using the money for gambling.

"I've been so embarrassed, and I can't believe I'd done it," Hughes said.

"I don't know why I did it. It's not like me, I really regret it and I'm embarrassed."

The court heard Hughes through the sale of her North Lismore home was able to repay $50,000 to her former employer, and planned on withdrawing her super, which she understood to be about $60,000, in a few years when she was eligible to do so.

She also planned to repay the debt by paying $100 a week from any wage she receives.

Judge Jeffrey McLennan said Hughes had been "in total control" of her employer's finances and been placed in "a position of trust".

He said he would need further time to assess the proper term of imprisonment but indicated he was leaning towards a custodial sentence with at least a non-parole period of 18 months.

Judge McLennan ordered Hughes to be taken into custody and adjourned the sentencing proceedings until June 17, where he will deliver his final judgement at 2pm in Lismore District Court.

The Director of Public Prosecutions is expected to withdraw a further 329 fraud charges against Hughes, which had been used as back-up charges, once sentencing is finalised.