A GUYRA woman has been jailed for 18 months for defrauding an Armidale machinery business by secretly paying herself extra wages.
But Edna Mary Mendes hasn't spent a day behind bars after immediately lodging a bail application on appeal, arguing the jail sentence was too severe.
She's already paid back the $88,134.74 she took from the earthmoving business, where she used to work.
The 47-year-old has appealed the 18-month jail sentence handed down by magistrate Michael Holmes in Armidale Local Court for five counts of fraud and dishonesty offences.
Prosecutors opposed the bail bid, arguing she should serve a stint behind bars after being convicted.
Mendes admitted to two charges of increasing her weekly wage and transferring funds to the tune of $18,546.35 as well as three charges of conducting unauthorised fund transfers on 43 occasions, pocketing more than $57,138.49.
She also admitted to conducting 10 unauthorised bank transfers, stealing $10,656.90 from the Armidale earthmoving business.
The offences occurred between January 2011, and October 2013, before the dishonesty was discovered. Mendes' employment was terminated that month.
According to court documents, Mendes lives in Guyra, and works for a New England council and admitted to the offending once she was arrested by Armidale detectives, last year.
"She stated to police that the funds were transferred to help support her lifestyle, and assist with expenses incurred whilst raising children as a single mother," agreed facts state.
Whilst working as an administrative assistant for the earthmoving business, Mendes was operating her own hairdressing business in Guyra.
She stated to police that the funds were transferred to help support her lifestyle, and assist with expenses incurred whilst raising children as a single mother.Agreed facts
"[A] further review of the [business] accounts after the accused had been terminated, revealed that she was paying her own personal accounts and accounts related to her hairdressing business, directly from the business accounts of the [employer]," facts stated.
Mendes' solicitor acknowledged his client's offending "involved a breach of trust on a continuing basis".
He submitted a full-time sentence "would be truly a crushing blow to her", according to submissions tendered in Armidale Local Court in sentencing.
"This woman is deeply ashamed of her wrongdoing," he said in written submissions, tendered in court.
"She needs to be punished and that is not disputed."
This woman is deeply ashamed of her wrongdoing ... She needs to be punished and that is not disputed.Mendes' solicitor
In a victim impact statement submitted to the court, the family, who own and operate the earthmoving operation, said the offending put the business and the employment of 40 or so employees "in jeopardy" by her providing false profit and loss statements "to convince us of this performance".
Mendes was handed a six-month non-parole sentence, which meant she would have been eligible for release in September.
In sentencing, Mr Holmes gave Mendes a 25 per cent discount for her early guilty pleas and found special circumstances because she had a clear record, her background and and she had already paid the compensation for her offending.
After hearing submissions from both sides, Mr Holmes granted conditional bail on appeal, ordering Mendes to report to Guyra police twice a week, surrender her passport, and not leave the New England region for any reason, among other conditions.
She's also prohibited from drinking alcohol or taking drugs and had to post $12,000 surety as well to secure her conditional release until an appeal in the Armidale District Court later this month.