Anaconda store at Everton Park.
Anaconda store at Everton Park.

Mum scammed workplace to feed children

A WOMAN who stole more than $2500 from her employer to feed her children and pay rent has been spared a conviction.

Vicky Leanne Huiskes was working for Anaconda in Garbutt when she began writing false returns and refunding the money onto her bank card.

The mother of two pleaded guilty to fraud and forgery in Townsville Magistrates Court on Monday.

She was charged with signing the false returns between July 20, 2019 and January 3, 2020.

Police Prosecutor Sergeant Amanda Lawson said money was taken in amounts between $30 and $550 over the period and the forgery consisted of 20 signatures.

Sgt Lawson said restitution was sought for the defrauded funds.

She said while it was not the largest amount of money that could be taken, "it is still a significant amount of money".

Sgt Lawson said Huiskes had a limited criminal history and had been cooperative with police.

"(it has been) some 12 months or just over, she has been offence free since she was identified," she said.

Defence solicitor Tracy Brown said she was a single parent of two children, aged 10 and 7, who had worked in childcare or in retail since leaving school.

Ms Brown said Huiskes had been working full-time hours, and had adjusted her Centrelink payments to work with this, but when her hours were cut back significantly she did not adjust her Centrelink information.

"Because of this reduction in time, she was in financial distress … she was having trouble paying bills and putting food on the table," Ms Brown said.

The court heard Huiskes had offered to work for the store in order to pay off the money she had stolen but it was declined.

Magistrate Cathy Wadley sentenced Huiskes to community service. If Huiskes reoffends while the order is in place, she will be resentenced for the crimes.

No conviction was recorded. She was ordered to pay restitution and do 500 hours of community service.

Huiskes also pleaded guilty to driving without a licence and driving an unregistered vehicle. Convictions were recorded for the traffic offences.

Originally published as Mum scammed workplace to feed children