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Redhead woman Sonia Gai Ambler jailed over $1.1m theft from work

A REDHEAD administration worker who stole more than $1.1 million from her employer emitted “competence, success and vibrancy” but the facade only covered up her “internal misery”.
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A sobbing Sonia Gai Ambler, 54, blew a kiss to her family as she was taken into Corrective Services custody for the first time in her life after being sentenced in Newcastle District Court on Friday.

The court heard there was “little chance” Ambler’s employer, EMS Group, a subsidiary of Veolia Environmental Services, would recoup more than $1.1 million paid out in fraudulentinvoicesover her 8.5 years of working for the company.

Public Defender Peter Krisenthal said during sentencing submissions the psychologist’s report repeatedly used the word “facade” to describe Ambler’s behaviour.

“She seemed to be a well-adjusted person, but the one word that is used throughout the report is ‘facade’,” he said.

“She presented a facade of perfectionism and confidence … [but] that confidence, competence and that perfectionism was covering up an unsure and anxious person.

“She needed to present a front that she was competent, successful and vibrant to cover up her internal misery.”

Crown prosecutor David Henschell said Ambler’s offending occurredover a long period of time. “It didn’t stop until she got caught,” he said.

Judge Roy Ellis weighed up the question whether she stole the money for “greed or need” but ultimately concluded“she was not someone on the breadline”.

He said Ambler had“clearly”stolen the money for her own benefit.

“Itseems that the money was used for trips tovarious locations in , everyday living and clothing,et cetera,” he said.

The money was stolen by transferringfunds into three separate ANZ bank accounts under the guise of payments to vendors, according to court documents.

Ambler was caught when the company hired a forensic accountant to investigate the claims.

She was sentenced to a maximum fiveyears and seven months’ jail.

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