Crown prosecutors are seeking a short jail term for a former Woody’s Triathlon volunteer who pleaded guilty on Wednesday to embezzling just under $7,000 from the committee’s bank account.
Megan Rose Beres, represented by defence counsel Kevin Sproule, is charged with five counts of fraud under $5,000 in relation to cheques she wrote to herself while she was managing the triathlon committee’s funds.
Appearing before Judge Gordon Deck in Red Deer provincial court, Beres admitted that she had made a grave error, apologized and said she felt extreme remorse for the harm she has caused.
Court heard that she had attempted to repay the money that she had taken, but her lawyer said the triathlon operators refused her cheque and she was subsequently sued for the entire sum plus court costs.
Sproule asked Deck not to give much weight to a victim impact statement in which another committee member says the loss of funds meant the triathlon would have less money to support charities, including Ronald McDonald House, and that triathlon participants would be forced to pay higher fees.
Those claims have no weight, since the money and costs have all been repaid, said Sproule.
Citing a pre-sentence report completed by a Red Deer probation officer, he said she has shown “exceptional reflection” on her actions and understands that she made a terrible mistake.
Sproule said his client had decided to “borrow” money from the fund after finding herself short of money to cover her bills after breaking up with a boyfriend who came from a wealthy family.
Beres is now in a new, stable relationship and has been successfully employed with an Edmonton flooring company for the last year, said Sproule. She is also studying drafting at NAIT.
Sproule argued for a two-year conditional sentence, reflecting that his client is a first-time offender who has pleaded guilty, co-operated with investigators and feels deep remorse for her actions.
Crown prosecutor Jordan Petty argued for a jail sentence of two to four months, followed by a period of probation, stating that Beres was in a position of trust when she wrote the cheques.
Beres remains free pending her return to court on Nov. 14, when Deck is to pronounce sentence.