VERNON - A Vernon woman apologized in court and expressed her embarrassment for stealing roughly $1,600 from her work and filing a phoney robbery report to cover up her tracks.
Corinna Ann Beal, 40, was charged after police discovered her report of being held up at gunpoint at Vernon Cash Solutions was completely fabricated.
Beal pleaded guilty to reporting an offence committed when it was not, and theft under $5,000 today in Vernon Provincial Court, and was sentenced to six months of house arrest.
Crown counsel Oliver Potestio said Vernon RCMP received a report of an armed robbery around 1:30 p.m. Nov. 10, 2016 at Vernon Cash Solutions.
“As you can imagine, Vernon RCMP responded in force,” Potestio said, noting they set up a containment perimeter.
Beal provided a vague description of the suspect and told police there was no video surveillance.
The next day, police spoke with the operator of the franchise, who said there was in fact video surveillance, and it showed a very different story. The video clearly showed Beal taking a stack of cash — just over $1,600 — and placing it in her jacket pocket, Potestio said. She waited a few minutes, and then called police.
Potestio said the fake report “tied up a lot of police resources” and was a breach of trust with her employer. He asked Provincial Court Judge Mayland McKimm to impose a 12-month conditional sentence order, served by way of house arrest.
Defence counsel Glenn Skobalski said Beal was under a lot of stress at the time, financially and otherwise. He said she was caring for her mother, who was diagnosed with cancer, and her father, who has a lung disease. She also has children with special needs. He said she deserved a conditional discharge, meaning the conviction would be removed from her criminal record.
“She made a bad decision, I don’t know how else I can put it,” Skobalski said.
Beal took an opportunity to apologize and told Judge McKimm he would never see her here again.
“This is totally out of character for me,” she said. “I’m really embarrassed.”
McKimm accepted her statement of remorse, but didn’t let her forget the gravity of her offence.
“This was not a simple misleading of police to cover up a relatively petty offence. This was a serious attempt to deceive the police as part of an ongoing and — albeit brief — relatively sophisticated plan to get away with thievery from her own employer,” McKimm said.
McKimm said the conditional discharge was too lenient, and the 12 month conditional sentence order too long of a term. Instead, he imposed a six month conditional sentence order to be served in the community. Beal also has to repay the money she stole from Vernon Cash Solutions.
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