Ex-administrator at Northland Māori immersion school pleads guilty to $250k embezzlement

An Auckland woman has pleaded guilty to defrauding a Northland Māori immersion school of approximately $250,000 while working as an administrator at the school. 

Serious Fraud Office Source: Te Karere

Kim Symes, 51, was convicted of one count of obtaining by deception, one count of using forged documents and four counts of dishonestly using a document in the Manukau District Court today. 

The six charges brought by the Serious Fraud Office relate to the defendant’s conduct as an employee of a Northland school. 

Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o te Tonga o Hokianga employed Ms Symes part time as a support staff administrator for 11 years from April 2006 to July 2017. 

In this role, she was responsible for the core financial duties for the school. She was responsible for ensuring the school’s expenditure was supported by purchase order forms, receipts or other documentation, and that it was accurately coded in the financial accounts.

Ms Symes has been remanded on bail to reappear for sentencing at the Manukau District Court on November 26.

The fraud charges can carry various prison terms, ranging up to 10 years for using forged documents.

The Northland school has been operating since 2002 and has a role of about 100 students ranging from Year 1-13.