Woman stole $3k from CQ business to maintain drug habit
A 28-YEAR-old Clermont woman stole more than $3000 from a local business to maintain her drug addiction.
Tahryn Kate Haufe, 28, pleaded guilty at Emerald Magistrates Court on October 13 to two counts of supplying dangerous drugs, one count of stealing by clerks and servants and possessing a phone used in commission of supply and stealing.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Kevin Ongheen said detectives from Moranbah commenced a covert operation targeting a drug syndicate in Clermont, Moranbah and Mackay, involved in supplying meth and cannabis.
On November 6, 2019, police were granted a telecommunication intercept warrant, which revealed a known man being in contact with a female person on a particular phone number.
The female, later identified as Haufe, contacted the man on March 13 wanting to purchase drugs.
She asked if he would be willing to swap ketamine for it. She said she had 200mL but could get more if needed, and she could also get him morphine for free.
Sgt Ongheen said communications revealed they swapped an 'eight ball' of meth for ketamine.
On May 15, police searched Haufe's Clermont address and located the mobile phone linked to sourcing dangerous drugs.
In relation to the stealing offence, Haufe was employed as a receptionist at Clermont Country Practice since August 2019 where she would take payments and conduct banking for the business, the court heard.
On March 5, another employee collected the cash til, which was expected to contain large amounts of cash, but it was completely empty.
Sgt Ongheen said the book keeper confirmed $3139 of cash was missing and after that, Haufe resigned and didn't return to work.
Police seized her phone in relation to the drug offences and found messages from February 18, where Haufe told her partner about the banking process and how to repay cash without being caught.
Sgt Ongheen said she sent a photo of her holding a large sum of cash outside a money tin.
Police spoke to her on July 30 and she made admissions to taking sums of cash at various times.
Haufe believed she put all the money back before she finished her employment but the informant advised the stolen cash had still not been accounted for, the court heard.
Solicitor Rhett Peters said his client had to deal with a series of personal events leading up to the offences, including a relationship breakdown, personal bankruptcy and a serious injury, that affected her mental health and led to poor decision making.
The court heard Haufe was diagnosed with depression and anxiety and when she didn't think the prescribed medication was assisting, she turned to the use of illicit drugs which soon began to rule her life.
Mr Peters said she got to a stage where she couldn't get out of bed without using some type of drug and used the stolen money to maintain the addiction.
In February she confided in her current partner about her drug use and stealing, and he told her she would need to replace the money and fix the situation.
Mr Peters said his client didn't keep records of what she was stealing and genuinely thought she had replaced what was stolen.
He said the photo she sent with the cash wasn't some type of trophy shot but was a photo of the money she was putting back in the tin.
Haufe recently started a pet grooming business and has been dealing with her mental health problems and illicit drug use by seeing a counsellor.
Magistrate Robert Walker said the relatively serious offences each carried maximum penalties of imprisonment.
"Ultimately it was quite poor decision making made on your part," he said to Haufe.
"Offences of such seriousness that they warrant terms of imprisonment."
Mr Walker read a letter of apology from Haufe as well as several references from family and friends confirming her good qualities.
Since she had engaged constructively in counselling and other activities to ensure she remained free of that same situation, Mr Walker was persuaded probation would be appropriate.
Haufe was ordered to 18 months probation. The convictions were not recorded.
She was ordered to pay restitution of $3139 to the Clermont Country Practice.