Shona Lee Divljak leaves Hervey Bay courthouse.
Shona Lee Divljak leaves Hervey Bay courthouse. Alistair Brightman

Footy club treasurer sentenced over $17k theft

A HERVEY Bay mother has avoided serving time behind bars after stealing $17,000 from a local sporting club.

Shona Lee Divljak (pictured)  pleaded guilty yesterday to one count of stealing as a clerk or servant after she took sums of money from player registrations, canteen takings etc and did not bank them.

The 46-year-old was remanded in custody overnight while magistrate Stephen Guttridge considered sentencing options.

Divljak blinked back tears in Hervey Bay Magistrates Court as she heard the news her 15-month prison sentence would be wholly suspended for four years.

Magistrate Guttridge cited Divljak's early plea and lack of criminal history when sentencing her.

"You have suffered significantly as a result of your behaviour, it is also a case the  club suffered as detailed in the victim impact statement tendered," he said.

On Thursday, the court heard how Divljak lied to the club about the missing funds saying they were locked in a safe in her house she could not access.

It was later revealed in a police interview she had never owned a safe and was just trying to buy time to get a loan to pay back the money before the club went to the police.

After being questioned by police and a search of her house revealed almost $2000 in cash, Divljak paid back the money to the club by getting a loan for $15,000 from her mother in law.

Solicitor John McDuff said his client was in a dire financial situation and used the money to pay for food, bills and debts like private school fees.

The court heard the family had relocated to Townsville after Divljak lost her job due to media coverage of the crime.

"She is remorseful," he said.

"In more recent times she has found herself unable to say no to her children and unable to say no to her husband as far as financial concerns and that has changed which is significant for her.

He described the offending as "unsophisticated" as Divljak did not try and hide the money she received each time as she texted the club secretary with the amounts.