Local man charged with fraud

National, Normal

A FORMER financial manager of the Lismore Neighbourhood Centre, who pleaded guilty to embezzling A$67,000 (K165,472.95) from the non-profit organisation, said he gave thousands of dollars to a widow for her children’s school fees.
Mava Haropula, 40, a Papua New Guinea national, was due to be sentenced in the Lismore district court in New South Wales on three fraud charges last Friday.
But Judge James Black delayed sentencing following Haropula’s claim about where some of the stolen money went.
Despite Haropula saying he wanted the matter finalised that afternoon, Judge Black said he would not sentenced him until all the facts were before the court that showed what money the thief had paid
toward the children’s school fees.
Judge Black ordered the father of seven, who has been living in Townsville, be taken into custody.
He adjourned his sentencing to March 22.
He said if not all of the money had gone into Haropula’s pocket then it could affect the overall sentence he received.
Haropula pleaded guilty to the fraud offences involving dozens of financial transactions between June 2006 and October 2007 while employed as the centre’s financial manager.
He used some of the misappropriated money to make payments on a car.
In September, defence lawyer Michael Betts asked Judge Black to put off sentencing Haropula until this year to allow his client to complete a Master of Business course.
The widow, nursing a child while being cross-examined by the Crown prosecutor, gave evidence she was a member of the Lismore Centre church, and also a Papua New Guinea national.