Jade Elizabeth Kenward, 28, pleaded guilty to nine fraud charges at court
Jade Elizabeth Kenward, 28, pleaded guilty to nine fraud charges at court

Crying clerk's naive crimes 'systematic and calculated'

A FORMER real estate clerk stole more than $7000 from her employer in a string of "naive" crimes to pay off her credit card.

Jade Elizabeth Kenward, 28, started crying when she realised a jail sentence would be handed down for nine fraud offences she committed against a real estate agency over nine months last year.

Police prosecutor Lee Allen said Kenward "almost instantaneously" started issuing herself extra pay slips when she was hired as a marketing manager on January 8 last year.

The first pay slip issued was for a period when she was not employed at the agency.

Kenward made no effort to cover her tracks and was caught in November owing $7500.

Defence lawyer Rose Killip said her client was in "dire" financial issues after an accident in 2017.

Kenward became the sole carer for her ex-husband after he accidentally set himself on fire while backburning on their property.

A combination of infidelity, mental health issues and a prescription drug addiction had since led to their divorce.

Ms Killip said Kenward was "trying to put her life back together" and pay off a $10,000 credit card debt when she was caught.

"It was need, not greed," she said.

Kenward now worked full-time at Buslink.

She pleaded guilty on Tuesday at Maroochydore Magistrates Court to nine fraud charges and one charge of falsifying a document.

Senior Constable Allen said her "systematic and calculated" crimes were a huge breach of trust.

Magistrate Haydn Stjernqvist agreed, but concluded Kenward was "extremely naive".

"You're still young. You can leave it all behind you," he said.

Kenward was sentenced to nine months jail, wholly suspended for 12 months and ordered to pay $7000 restitution.