A REGISTERED tax agent who stole more than $240,000 from a Hunter transport company over a six-year period while the owner was battling cancer has been jailed for a maximum of 12 months.
But a few hours after Kylee Suzanne Pryor was taken into the cells at Toronto Local Court on Friday, she was granted strict conditional bail after her solicitor, John Anthony, lodged an appeal against the severity of her jail term to Newcastle District Court.
In August, Magistrate Elizabeth Ellis had ordered Pryor be assessed for an intensive corrections order, a form of custodial sentence served in the community, after the 47-year-old from Cameron Park pleaded guilty to two counts of dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage by deception and destroy or conceal accounting record to obtain advantage.
But on Friday, Ms Ellis determined that the offences were too serious and had crossed the threshold into full-time imprisonment, sentencing Pryor to a maximum of 12 months in jail, with a non-parole period of nine months. Pryor was employed by Valley Accounting and Taxation Services (VATS) from 1989 until she agreed to resign in August last year, according to a statement of agreed facts.
During that time Pryor was tasked with conducting all of the bookkeeping for Medowie-based company, Farrell Transport.
In 2000, when owner Michael Farrell was diagnosed with cancer and had to be hospitalised, Pryor become the sole signatory of the business account.
Mr Farrell had agreed to the move in the hope it would keep his business afloat.
But unfortunately for Mr Farrell his trust in Pryor was misplaced.
An internal examination and then police investigation revealed that between March 4, 2011, and July 28, 2017, a total of $241,160 was electronically transferred from Farrell Transport’s business account into Pryor’s personal bank accounts.
Mr Farrell had no idea about the transactions and was seeking compensation, court documents state.
Pryor was arrested, charged, ultimately pleading guilty and, on Friday, she was jailed for a maximum of 12 months.
After Pryor was convicted, Mr Farrell was granted compensation for the full amount owed.
Mr Anthony immediately lodged a severity appeal against the jail term and Pryor was granted bail pending an appeal in Newcastle District Court in March, 2019.
According to court documents, Pryor’s appeal bail includes the conditions that she report daily to police, not have any contact with staff at VATS or Mr Farrell and that she not advertise her services as a registered tax agent or bookkeeper.