Former bookkeeper admits theft

A judge admitted on Monday that she has a difficult decision to make today in sentencing a woman who stole money from her employer but now is the sole caregiver of a foster child and her own children.

A judge admitted on Monday that she has a difficult decision to make today in sentencing a woman who stole money from her employer but now is the sole caregiver of a foster child and her own children.

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

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

Collard said Leiman, a single mother, was the small company’s bookkeeper to start in April 2005 but gained more responsibilities and was given a company credit card in her name.

Collard said the woman 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.

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

Court heard the accused has one foster child and hoped to get another in addition to taking care of her own two children.

Collard said Lambourne, which employs nine full-time people, wants the money back through a restitution order.

However, Leiman can’t use foster care money she gets from the province to pay off personal debts.

“White collar crime has had major impact on our society,” said Collard, who noted the federal government wants to introduce legislation to enhance penalties for white collar criminals.

He said the court should consider a jail term and restitution but could also consider a community-based sentence and probation.

Defence lawyer Jim MacSween said a jail term would punish the children more than Leiman.

Sulyma asked when would the woman get the money.

“This is like trying to get blood from a stone,” the judge said.

She also agreed going to jail wouldn’t help with restitution.

jwilson@bprda.wpengine.com