Kelowna society for disabled claims book-keeper stole millions | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna society for disabled claims book-keeper stole millions

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January 09, 2019 - 5:00 PM

KELOWNA - A Kelowna agency that supports developmentally disabled youth and adults says it was defrauded of millions of dollars by its former book-keeper.

Access Human Resources is suing Carey Suzanne Earl, her husband and even her children trying to recoup what it estimates are more than $2 million in losses since 2005.

Cliff Andrusko, director of the society and sole shareholder, says in court documents Earl admitted to him that she took the money. In an early decision in the case published to the Supreme Court of B.C. website today, Jan. 9, she didn’t deny that she defrauded and stole — she only disagrees how much.

Andrusko sought and was originally granted orders barring Carey Earl, her husband Douglas Brian Earl and their children from disposing of assets. The children face no allegations — they were named only because they may have benefitted by accepting money from Carey and Douglas for their home and wedding.

The lawsuit is part of a desperate attempt to recover any losses. Andrusko disclosed through the court record that he discovered the missing money in October and Carey Earl was immediately fired. He said she admitted it and Justice Gary Weatherill noted that she has not denied the allegations.

"The defendant, Carey Earl, stated to me, "You are right, I stole from you. Do what you need to do and I will plead guilty at court,” Andrusko said.

They still have not been proven in court.

While Andrusko says roughly $2.3 million is missing, $1.5 million of that disappeared between 2010 and 2018.

Andrusko declined an interview on the advice of his lawyers. Calls to Carey Earl’s company, CE Business Services, did not go through.

Douglas Earl’s Facebook page over the past several years shows new vehicles, snowmobiles, quads, off-road vehicles, trips to concerts, Alaska, Hawaii, Las Vegas and more. So far, Carey Earl does not face criminal charges and it’s unknown if police are investigating.

At this stage, the matter is in civil court, with Andrusko trying to recover funds, which Weatherill observed was unlikely — especially now that lawyers are involved.

Weatherill originally froze most of the assets from Earl and her family to protect them from being disposed of before trial. He allowed them only $1,500 each per month in living expenses but Carey and Douglas complained in December that wasn’t enough to cover even debt payments. They convinced Weatherill to bump up living expenses to $2,500 — $5,000 per month for the couple. He also allowed them to cash in $14,000 in investments to pay their lawyers.

Carey Earl’s only dispute is how much she took. She says when Access Human Resources made their estimates, they improperly included wages and payments for services from Earl’s family members. Douglas Earl, a metal worker and principle of Earl’s Metal Arts, said he earned $142,428 in legitimate wages between 2015 and 2017 from Access. Carey Earl also suggested some missing funds were counted twice.

According to its website, Access Human Resources — known as Access Resources — works with government agencies and others to provide community support programs, functional living skills training, educational counselling and other supports for child and adults living with disabilities.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Marshall Jones or call 250-718-2724 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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