A former resident of Deer Lake has been imprisoned for two years, less one day, for defrauding her employer of more than $200,000 in British Columbia.
Tammy Teresa Gillis, 43, was convicted of fraud over $5,000 by the provincial court in Fort Nelson, B.C. after entering a guilty plea in late June.
In addition to the prison sentence, to be followed by three years of probation, Gillis has been ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $204,225.
Gillis had been employed as a bookkeeper by Dushay Welding Ltd., a company owned by David Soules. She was hired in September 2016 and, as the court was told, defrauded Dushay of $213,25 in the 15 months she worked there.
According to the written decision of the court, Gillis used pre-signed cheques to her own benefit, manipulated payroll software to obtain more vacation pay and other benefits than she was entitled to and overcharged for her hours of work.
The court heard there was a level of sophistication required to manipulate the corporate software and there were attempts to keep the losses hidden from Soules.
Gillis, who said she takes full responsibility for her actions and was prepared for whatever punishment the court deemed appropriate, told the court she was financially overwhelmed at the time and used the money for family expenses.
The court heard she used the money for living expenses for herself and her family and used it to purchase clothing and accessories. It was also suggested that she used the money for personal grooming and esthetic matters and to give cash gifts to her adult children in an amount of between $50,000 and $60,000.
It was accepted by the court that Gillis used some of the money for holiday trips to Alberta and Newfoundland.
She has no prior criminal record.
Soules filed a victim impact statement with the court. He said at the time his company was being defrauded he had been making many personal efforts to salvage Dushay and ensure his employees maintained their jobs during an economic downturn in the area.
He told the court the stress over the viability of his business caused him health problems.
He also said Gillis breached the position of trust he had given her. He said she would sometimes ask him how he was planning to meet the demands of creditors and payroll while she was stealing money from the company and spending it on herself.
While the criminal case may have come to an end, Soules has initiated civil court action against Gillis that has yet to be resolved. Gillis has not yet paid any of the money back and Soules is pursuing the litigation in a further attempt to recoup his financial losses.