Fraudster has two weeks to get money for victims

A fraudster has been given two weeks to come up with the $3750 she conned out of two victims, or face a possible jail sentence.

Ann-Marie Kathrine Smith, a mother aged 30, says she will have access to the money, but Christchurch District Court Judge Tony Couch said: “Actions are required, not words.”

Through defence counsel Kirsten Gray, Smith also offered an additional emotional harm payment of $1000 to one victim and $500 to the other.

The judge said there were only two sentencing options – prison or home detention. He remanded Smith on bail to April 26 for one more sentencing date and told her: “This case has been dragged out by various means for a long time. There will be finality on that date, one way or another.”

Smith admitted two charges of obtaining money by deception last year, and was remanded for sentencing. In the meantime, she has filed an appeal to the High Court to get continued name suppression, which failed, and there has been a problem getting an address assessed for home detention.

When her pre-sentence report was being prepared, Smith told the interviewer she would bring along the money to court to repay her victims. Miss Gray said Smith had attempted the get the money but it was not in a form where she could gain access and she did not have it at today’s scheduled sentencing.

Judge Couch said she needed to prove this money existed and she was legally entitled to it. Better still, she needed to bring the money to her sentencing.

He said: “We know that little weight can be placed on this woman’s words. She lies. It’s as simple as that.”

Smith met a customer she did not know at a bank branch in New Brighton in December 15, and within a short time had told her such a story of her family misfortunes that the woman withdrew $3000 from her account and loaned it to her. The money is still outstanding.

She got another woman to give her a $750 cheque to pay for travel, but instead used the money to pay associates.

Judge Couch said he was reluctantly granting the two week adjournment to get a home detention check completed on Smith’s address and for her to come up with the money for the victims.

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