Conditional sentence for woman convicted of defrauding Penticton Indian Band of $62K | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Conditional sentence for woman convicted of defrauding Penticton Indian Band of $62K

December 11, 2020 - 3:40 PM

A Penticton woman will not serve any jail time and has been ordered to pay back the more than $62,000 she stole from the band after she pleaded guilty to forgery, fraud and falsifying documents.

Band member Marnie Leslie Kruger, born in 1967, pleaded guilty earlier this year to charges of forgery, destroying or altering a book to defraud and fraud.

Judge Monica McParland delivered her sentence to an empty courtroom in Kelowna yesterday, Dec. 10, speaking to Crown counsel Garry Hansen, defence lawyer Norm Yates and Kruger through video conference from the Penticton courthouse.

READ MORE: Sentencing hearing adjourned in Penticton Indian Band fraud case

Kruger’s charges stemmed from a period between Sept. 1, 2016 to July 1, 2017, when Kruger worked in the accounting department of the Penticton Indian Band’s SFLP forestry company. Police were called on July 6, 2017 when a company executive discovered evidence of fraud.

Inside Kruger’s desk he found examples of attempts to imitate his signature as well as SFLP cheque stubs.

On Jan. 17, 2018, at a meeting involving SFLP executives, Kruger admitted to taking money from the company to feed gambling, drug and alcohol addictions.

A forensic audit of the company, taken from April 1, 2013, to July 30, 2017, revealed a total of $79,716 in misappropriated funds, taken by Kruger from cheques written on her behalf for work and hours not undertaken, as well as in the name of other employees.

It was later revealed $62,089.40 had been taken during the time specified in Kruger’s charges, from Sept. 1, 2016 to July 1, 2017.

A joint submission from defence and Crown counsel asked for a nine-month conditional sentence order, followed by 12-months probation and a stand-alone restitution, which Justice McParland agreed to, after considering Kruger’s rehabilitation and reconciliation efforts.

A joint submission is an agreement between the prosecutor and the accused to recommend a particular sentence to the judge in exchange for the accused pleading guilty. The joint submission may be for a lower sentence than might otherwise be imposed.

“She admitted the advances to her employer and expressed she wanted to be fully accountable and to make full restitution. She cooperated with police… she willingly participated in a restorative justice program, she has significant community support and has already taken steps toward rehabilitation,” McParland said.

Kruger has been sober for three and a half years, has been attending weekly Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and has separated from her husband as he was unable or unwilling to support her sober lifestyle, McParland said.

“She no longer allows anyone into her home if they are using alcohol or cocaine,” she said. Kruger sees a psychologist regularly.

“I am particularly mindful… that this offender and the community have already begun to actively engage in a restorative justice process,” McParland said.

Kruger must obey a nightly curfew and must not handle any money from an employer or organization without first providing them with a copy of the order, must participate in a restorative justice program, must update the court on her restorative justice program progress, as well as follow other conditions.

The sentence includes a restitution order for $62,089.40 payable by Kruger to the Penticton Indian Band.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Carli Berry or call 250-864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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