Sentencing hearing begins for former Kelowna social worker guilty of fraud | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

Would you like to subscribe to our newsletter?

Current Conditions Sunny  17.1°C

Kelowna News

Sentencing hearing begins for former Kelowna social worker guilty of fraud

FILE PHOT - Robert Riley Saunders.
Image Credit: Global Okanagan (with permission)

A disgraced former ministry social worker at the centre of a class-action lawsuit after being accused of stealing from youth, appeared in Kelowna court today as his sentencing hearing got underway.

Robert Riley Saunders pleaded guilty last year to breach of trust, fraud and forgery. He appeared in Kelowna court as part of a Gardiner hearing today, March 21. A Gardiner hearing is when evidence is called during sentencing after an accused person has entered a guilty plea.

Gordon Comer, deputy director with the B.C. Prosecution Service, said the hearing is scheduled for this week but he did not yet have a final sentencing date.

Last year, Saunders admitted he forged a degree from the University of Manitoba to get his job at the Ministry of Social Work and Childcare Development. Regardless of the forgery, he was still considered to be an agent of the ministry and breached the trust afforded to him.

While he pleaded guilty to just one count of fraud, the Crown said last year that a seven-day hearing this month would set out impacts to each of his fraud victims as factors that should earn him a steeper jail sentence.

Justice Paul Riley heard last year Saunders was an assistant supervisor assigned to a team dealing with roughly 60 high-risk Indigenous youth in Kelowna. He is accused of stealing thousands of dollars from them.

READ MORE: Robert Riley Saunders pocketed nearly $500,000 from fraud

The Ministry of Children and Family Development settled a class-action lawsuit last year, which alleged that Saunders "defrauded many children in the care of the Ministry of their food, clothing and shelter allowances.”

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.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 


News from © iNFOnews, 2022

  • Popular kelowna News
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile