Ex-bookkeeper who stole avoids jail

A Red Deer woman who stole money from her employer was sentenced on Tuesday to a community-based sentence and told to repay the company.

A Red Deer woman who stole money from her employer was sentenced on Tuesday to a community-based sentence and told to repay the company.

Dorothy Amelia Leiman, 49, pleaded guilty earlier to a single count of fraud of more than $5,000 in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench.

Leiman will serve a year of house arrest, with a curfew clause for the first six months from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m., except to shop and care for her children, including a foster child.

Justice Doreen Sulyma heard that Leiman stole about $21,300 from Lambourne Environment Ltd., of Red Deer County between Feb. 12 and Dec. 31, 2008.

Sulyma ordered Leiman to immediately repay $2,000 to the company.

The money is being held in trust by her lawyer Jim MacSween.

Leiman was then told by the justice to make every attempt to repay the remainder, whether it’s from a $13.50 per diem rate she receives from the province for the foster child or from a home business she hopes to start.

Leiman, court heard, receives money for the foster child’s care in addition to the per diem.

Leiman can’t use foster care maintenance money from the province to pay off personal debts.

MacSween said Leiman hopes to receive another foster child.

Leiman, however, can’t have anything to do with being entrusted with money, the justice said.

Sulyma also said Lambourne has the option of taking Leiman to civil court for the debt owing.

The justice said Leiman, a single mother, clearly has no assets other than the per diem at present.

Sulyma said aggravating factors included the amount of money stolen, that the business is small with nine employees and that Leiman was in a position of trust and authority.

Leiman was the company’s bookkeeper starting in April 2005 but gained more responsibilities and was given a company credit card in her name.

She made personal purchases on the card but then had to “cook the books” in order to make it appear things were running smoothly when she couldn’t repay the purchases, Crown prosecutor Maurice Collard said earlier.

He said she bought appliances, personal car repairs, minor hockey registrations, camps for children, tires and paid for a dentist bill and tuition for schooling to improve her foster care abilities.

Lambourne co-owner Brian Nicholson told court that Leiman was a trusted employee who received many considerations for extra time off. She even received a bonus just a short while before the theft was discovered.

He also admitted the court was in a “catch-22 position” in handing out a fit and proper sentence.

jwilson@bprda.wpengine.com

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