Woman who defrauded Penticton Indian Band company to get conditional sentence | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Woman who defrauded Penticton Indian Band company to get conditional sentence

Crown is asking for a conditional sentence of 9 months for Penticton Indian Band member Marnie Kruger for defrauding a band company of more than $60,000. She will also have to pay the funds back.
November 25, 2020 - 5:51 PM

A Penticton Indian Band woman facing sentencing on fraud and forgery charges will have to wait to find out her sentence following proceedings in Penticton court today.

Marnie Leslie Kruger was to be sentenced today, Nov. 25, after entering guilty pleas earlier this year to charges of forgery, destroying or altering a book to defraud, and fraud, but Judge Monica McParland reserved her decision to a later date.

Crown Prosecutor Garry Hansen told court 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 her 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.

The funds were taken, in what Hansen called a “complex scheme” of 43 unauthorized deposits or payments, included cheques written to a Penticton auto repair company for Kruger’s vehicle.

In the three and a half years since the crimes, Kruger has engaged in treatment for her addictions in addition to participating in a restorative justice program involving band elders, chiefs, and members of the reserve’s business community.

Hansen told the court she has shown significant signs of taking responsibility for the crimes, including a commitment to repay the full amount taken.

But he also noted the sophisticated nature of the crimes, the amount of money taken as well as the lengthy time frame and Kruger’s abuse of a position of trust as aggravating factors.

However, with Kruger’s lack of a criminal past, her commitment to take responsibility for her actions and her genuine remorse, Hansen asked Judge McParland for a nine month conditional sentence followed by 12 months’ probation in what he called a joint submission.

“There is evidence of Kruger taking responsibility for her offences. That’s evident by her participation in the restorative justice program and her expressions of remorse to the police and the SFLP board members,” Hansen said.

Members of the Penticton Indian Band Restorative Justice Program were also in court, speaking favourably about Ms. Kruger’s efforts.

Kruger also spoke on her behalf, calling today’s testimony about her “humbling.”

“It’s hard to listen to the things being said about me,” she said, adding she didn’t deny the charges and admitted to betraying a position of trust.

The 53-year-old said cocaine and alcohol took over her life.

“I just want to be accountable for the damage I have caused,” she told court.

Judge McParland adjourned her decision to a future date but she is largely bound by law to accept the joint sentencing request. 

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