Blank cheques provided a chance to steal $62,386.87

FOR years Deborah Kaye Ramsay was given blank cheques as the executive officer of the Queensland branch of the Council of Chiropractic Education.

For years she used the signed cheques to pay the council's bills until, five years into the job, she realised a slight accounting error she had made hadn't been picked up.

Upon the realisation that no-one was supervising her accounting practices Ramsay, 51, began filling out the signed cheques to herself and placing fraudulent entries accounting for the money into the council's accounting program.

In 11 transactions between 2008 and 2010 Ramsay defrauded the council out of $62,386.87.

The cheques varied in value from $2200, with the two largest with $16,800 and $10,500 respectively.

Ramsay pleaded guilty at the Ipswich District Court to fraud as an employee.

The court heard in October 2010 a new president was elected to the council and the practice of sending blank signed cheques to Ramsay was stopped. Less than a year later she resigned from her job.

In 2012 the new president noticed records from the 2010 accounts were missing and investigations into Ramsay were passed onto the police. Defence lawyer Steve Kissick said her finances were under stress at the time of the offences with her husband on a disability pension.

Judge Greg Koppenol said Ramsay's actions were a "gross breach of trust".

"You were responsible for the council's bank accounts and paying bills," he said.

"You breached the council's trust imposed on you in a very gross way indeed."

He said once the practice of sending her blank cheques was ceased "the game was up". He sentenced her to three years prison, to be suspended after she has served nine months.

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