Crown seeks six year prison term for Kelowna bookkeeper’s $1.3 million fraud | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Crown seeks six year prison term for Kelowna bookkeeper’s $1.3 million fraud

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The Crown is seeking to put a 63-year-old Kelowna woman in prison for six years for defrauding her former employer of $1.35 million over 12 years.

Carey Earl walked past two dozen of her former workmates at Access Resources in Kelowna as she faced sentencing today, April 19, for fraud over $5,000.

“There’s a special place in hell for people like you,” one of those former co-workers, Jordan Oostenbrink, told the court in a victim impact statement addressed to Earl.

Oostenbrink described the loss of trust many of them felt after learning of her betrayal, not just as a bookkeeper, but as a friend.

Prosecutors on the case spent the morning explaining why Earl should get such a stiff sentence despite her age and many physical ailments. She is suffering from rectal cancer, diabetes and Crohn’s disease, among others.

Prosecutor Jessica Saris said Earl used “layers of deceit and fairly complex accounting to cover up” her fraud from 2006 to 2018. Access Resources works with people with disabilities, funded entirely by the provincial government through Community Living B.C.

Saris told Justice Gordon Weatherill that the federal prison system is more than capable of handing Earl’s health issues. She said a pre-sentence report prepared on Earl showed why it’s important she spend a lengthy period behind bars.

“Comments to the report writer show little remorse or insight into her offending,” Saris said. “She makes a number of self serving statements that she was pressured to defraud her employer because of financial pressures from home and she now feels bad about it.

“She needed $1.3 million for financial pressures? We saw Mrs. Earl’s credit card statements, we saw the lavish vacations she took, the helicopter ride in Vegas, cruises, trip to Mexico. She was not stealing money to pay her bills, she was stealing money to fund a lavish lifestyle.”

She said Earl’s case was different than many other cases involving breach of trust. Most involve some addiction, alcoholism or gambling addiction, none of which is present in the case. Most times, fraudsters plead guilty, which is often a mitigating factor in sentencing, but Earl went to a B.C. Supreme Court jury, which found her guilty last November.

Earl’s lawyer is expected this afternoon to seek a prison sentence to be served at home. Justice Weatherill is expected to give a decision on sentence another day.

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