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Former hospital worker Wendy Judith Smith sentenced for stealing Department of Health funds

Pulse Tasmania
Mersey Community Hospital

A former Mersey Community Hospital worker has been sentenced in the Burnie Supreme Court for stealing money from the Department of Health.

Wendy Judith Smith, 61, stole over $1,500 during a 13-month period toward the end of her employment at the hospital where she has worked on and off since 1984.

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Justice Tamara Jago said 27 instances of theft up to March 2019 were identified, during which Smith, while working in financial services, stole money by voiding receipts from patient payments and pocketing the cash for herself.

She typically took small amounts of $20 to $40 at a time, totaling $989.90, which she later repaid in full.

“It seems you never had any intention to keep the money that you stole,” Justice Jago told Smith.

The Burnie Supreme and Magistrates Court. Image / Pulse

“Instead you would “borrow it” when money was tight within your household and then repay the amount.”

Smith also took $648.50 from the canteen and hydrotherapy services in the same period, which she did not return.

Upon being caught, Smith admitted to the crimes said she committed them out of financial desperation to make ends meet for her household.

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“You told police that you … were using the money simply to make ends meet. You were not living an extravagant lifestyle,” Justice Jago said.

“The money was being used to make payment for things such as groceries, fuel and mortgage payments.”

Smith was sentenced to three years in prison, wholly suspended, on the condition that she does not commit a crime punishable by imprisonment for 18 months.

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