Childcare director sent to jail after stealing $100,000

A SMITHFIELD childcare director abused a position of trust by stealing more than $100,000 from a former employer.

Michelle Bernadette Drage will spend seven months of a three and a half year jail sentence behind bars.

The 46-year-old was in tears in the Cairns District Court as Judge Dean Morzone, QC, handed down her sentence yesterday after she pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud.

Between July 2009 and July 2012 Drage was the manager of a medical practice in Mackay, which involved being in charge of payroll.

Drage increased her own wages each financial year in excess of the authorised CPI index, overpaying herself $37,185.44.

She also misused company funds over 89 transactions in the form of bank credits and goods and services totalling 97,166.47.

Melia Benn, for the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, said the total amount taken was $134,351.91.
"This is a clear breach of trust, it was well thought out," Ms Benn said.

Defence barrister Josh Trevino said the money had been used in unsuccessful attempts to "prop up" two side businesses run by his client.

Mr Trevino said Drage displayed a "wilful blindness" to her good intentions to repay the amounts. She was declared bankrupt in 2013.

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