The New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal has made an order that no legal practitioner or incorporated firm employ Sarah Buschman in connection with the practitioner's or incorporated firm's practice.
The order is made pursuant to section 242(1)(h)(ii) of the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006, for so long as the order remains in force.
The Tribunal says Ms Buschman was employed by a law firm, initially as a secretary. When the firm accountant retired, she took that role over from 29 April 2016 to 11 August 2017.
"Between 26 May 2017 and 26 July 2017, [Ms Buschman] authorised the payment of eight creditor invoices by electronic transfer from the firm's bank account. Five of the invoices had previously been paid by the firm. None of the payments were made into the creditors' bank accounts. [Ms Buschman] dishonestly arranged for all eight payments to be paid into her own bank account. The total sum taken ... was $2,947.71," the Tribunal says.
It says at a meeting with her employer, Ms Buschman said the payments were either a mistake or an accident. She indicated she would repay the money but has not done so.
The New Zealand Law Society's Waikato Bay of Plenty Standards Committee No 1 charged Ms Buschman with conduct that would, if it were conduct of a practitioner, render the practitioner liable to have his or her name struck off the roll.
In its decision the Tribunal said Ms Buschman did not file a response to the charge or any teleconferences relating to the hearing, despite being given the opportunity to do so. She is understood to be now living in Australia.
The Tribunal says it is satisfied the charge has been proved.
As well as its order to not employ, the Tribunal has ordered that Ms Buschman refund $2,947.71 to her previous employer, and that she pay total costs of $3,966 to the New Zealand Law Society.