A woman who stole more than $460,000 from her employers to fund her gambling habit has had her sentence increased by the Court of Appeal.
In November last year, Kerry Caulfield pleaded guilty in the County Court to a “rolled-up” charge of theft after stealing $463,028.80 from her former employer, the Hopper Motor Group, based in Werribee, Essendon and Melbourne.
The “rolled-up” charge consisted of 84 separate acts of theft, which took place across a three-year period.
In December, Caulfield was sentenced to nine months imprisonment, a two-year Community Correction Order and 50 hours of unpaid community work.
However, the Director of Public Prosecutions appealed the sentence on the grounds that it was “manifestly inadequate”.
The Court of Appeal earlier this month increased Caulfield’s sentence to two years and six months imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 18 months.
The court heard that Caulfield, aged between 45 and 48 at the time of her offending, was “essentially a bookkeeper” at the Hopper Motor Group.
Caulfield’s theft was discovered when the business appointed a new chief financial officer last year and later engaged an accounting and advisory firm.
The court heard Caulfield admitted to police that she had manipulated the company’s books to cover up her thefts, and that about 90 per cent of the money she stole went towards gambling.
One of the owners of the Hopper Motor Group read a victim impact statement in court.
She said the thefts from the business had made her “physically ill” and put the company “seriously at risk”.
The court also heard that Caulfield, who has no prior criminal history, “was deeply sorry for her actions”.