Bookkeeper jailed 32 months for Country Club theft

A former Red Deer Golf and Country Club bookkeeper was sentenced to 32 months in prison on Friday for stealing $917,000 from the club.

A former Red Deer Golf and Country Club bookkeeper was sentenced to 32 months in prison on Friday for stealing $917,000 from the club.

The court heard Bonnie Howell, 66, gambled the money away that she stole between January 2007 and December 2011.

She has since paid back $225,000 in restitution to the club.

Howell pleaded guilty to one charge of fraud over $5,000 in Red Deer provincial court in May.

Judge Ken Rostad said aggravating factors in crime included the abuse of her employer’s trust, the number of times she committed fraud and her attempt to conceal her criminal activity.

He said Howell’s guilty plea and the fact that she had no criminal record were mitigating factors in sentencing.

Crown prosecutor Steven Johnston, with Calgary’s specialized prosecutions branch, recommended a three-year prison term.

He said Howell was caught “red-handed.” Instead of going into debt herself while gambling, she decided to steal over and over again from her employer whom she did not like.

Defence lawyer Brad Mulder told the court that his client, who worked for the golf club for 25 years, went into bankruptcy to pay back as much money as she could.