July 17th, 2024

Local woman gets two years for stealing $117K from a company while on release for similar charges

By Peggy Revell on August 18, 2017.


A Medicine Hat bookkeeper was sentenced to two years in the federal penitentiary for stealing $117,000 from a local company — a theft that occurred while she was on release for charges of stealing $22,500 from the local Economic Development Alliance of Southeast Alberta.

Mary Ann Smith entered a guilty plea to theft over $5,000 at the end of July, and alongside her time in jail was ordered to pay restitution to the company for all stolen funds.

The woman goes back to jail after only just completing her 15-month jail term for the EDA theft.

In 2014, she was a bookkeeper for the local non-profit, and over a period of months transferred $22,500 from the EDA’s accounts to her own personal account. She was arrested on June 3, 2014.

She was granted bail, but was hired as a bookkeeper for another local manufacturing company — and over an almost two-year period made 55 transactions where she transferred money into her own account.

On her Aug. 18, 2016 sentencing for the EDA thefts, Judge Sylvia Oisha called her “unremorseful, brazen and incorrigible” and that her moral culpability was “very high.”

In fact, while a pre-sentencing report was being put together, in an attempt to avoid jail, Smith forged a letter from her employer — the one she took $117,000 from — saying she was a valued employee, and the business relied upon her especially during the current economic downturn.

During this sentence, Smith presented the court with $12,500 in restitution for the EDA, and was ordered to pay back the remaining $10,000 as well.

Smith has a history of similar convictions, including a 1993 conviction for fraud over 1,000; 1996 conviction for theft under $500, and serving nine months in jail in 2011 for fraud where she was also required to pay $31,200 in restitution.

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