Fraudster left ‘trail of destruction’

A woman who left a “trail of destruction” when she siphoned $358,925 from the bank accounts of a Christchurch travel agency where she worked, has been jailed for 27 months.

Jordan Alexandra Kirkham, 28, is pregnant and will still be serving her sentence when she gives birth in November.

The Parole Board will decide her release date, but not before she has completed a third of the sentence in early 2020.

Kirkham was sentenced in the Christchurch District Court by Judge Bridget Mackintosh after admitting one representative charge of obtaining the money by deception.

She had taken the money over three years in 100 transactions, using a colleague’s access details to enable her to switch the money into five of her own bank accounts.

None of the money went into the joint account she had with her partner, who knew nothing of her offending.

Judge Mackintosh asked defence counsel Claire McCool how Kirkham had spent the money was told it had gone on “household items and travel”. No schedule of her spending was put before the judge.

There was no indication in the pre-sentence report of any gambling issue, but no assets remained from the funds she took.

Kirkham offered to make a contribution towards reparations at $100 a week from her pay at her new job where her employer has been told of her offending.

Judge Mackintosh said Kirkham’s offending took place from September 2015 to October 2018, when she transferred the money into her own accounts and hid the transactions with other transfers between company accounts. When a suspicious transaction was noticed, she admitted what she had been doing.

The victim impact statement from the company showed that the agency and fellow employees on her team felt “an enormous sense of betrayal” by someone who was well liked and part of a good team.

Her offending had left a “trail of destruction” in her wake.

Ms McCool urged the judge to impose a jail term of two years or less so that home detention could be considered. She said Kirkham had no previous convictions, was remorseful, and had offered to make a reparation contribution.

But the judge decided that even with reductions for those factions, and for her pregnancy, the sentence was still two years three months.

Even if the sentence had been within home detention range she would not have allowed it because of the denunciation and deterrence required, she said.

She also ordered Kirkham to pay $25,000 reparations to the company over the five years after her release.

The company had insurance and the reparation would cover the excess, but she expected the company would also have to face increased premiums because of the offending.

Judge Mackintosh told Kirkham: “It still remains something of a mystery to me how you managed to spend all that money.”