South Peace News
A woman who managed finances for a Faust service organization will spend the next several months behind bars after stealing more than $75,000.
Nancy Sloat, 57, was sentenced to six months in jail after pleading guilty in High Prairie provincial court Oct. 30 to fraud over $5,000.
Sloat was charged with taking $75,102 from the Faust Community League. She served as a volunteer bookkeeper over a three-year period from Jan. 1, 2015 to Nov. 15, 2017, Crown prosecutor Terrance Hudson said.
“There are serious consequences for this type of behaviour,” Judge G.W. Paul said during sentencing.
He agreed to the sentence after a joint submission was presented to court by Hudson and Sloat’s defence lawyer, Allan Crawford.
A charge of forgery was dropped.
Sloat is remorseful as stated in a letter to the community league. She explained her actions that helped feed her gambling addiction.
“First, I would like to start by sending my deepest apologies for my wrongdoings while sitting on the board as the volunteer bookkeeper for the Faust Community League,” Sloat wrote in the letter dated May 31.
“I never had any kind of thought or intentions of any of this when I first started.”
She added her addiction started in 2011.
“My gambling got way out of control and the finances were unmanageable and then I started resorting to taking money; it started small but got bigger and bigger,” Sloat wrote.
Court ordered Sloat to pay restitution of $57,369, the balance owing from the money she has already paid back.
However, she wrote in her letter it will be difficult to pay restitution while serving time in jail with no other resources of revenue.
Before sentencing, Sloat completed a 20-day treatment program that she says has helped.
“I still have a long road to recovery ahead of me, both mentally and financially, but I’m taking it one day at a time and working towards a better lifestyle and towards gaining trust and forgiveness from my community,” Sloat wrote.
To earn money to help pay for restitution, she has offered her services to work in the community.
Sloat was advised by Judge Paul to stay clear of serving as a bookkeeper or in similar roles.
“You should never again put yourself or the community in a position where you manage funds,” he said.
“The community is probably not in danger of you re-offending.”
He also reminded Sloat that gambling can be a lifelong addiction, even though she has taken steps to recover.
“When you’re an addict, you will always be an addict.”
Judge Paul did give Sloat credit for apologizing and admitting to her actions after it was discovered. After reading the victim impact statement, however, Judge Paul said the issue divided the community and many questioned the league’s leadership to detect the fraud sooner and respond appropriately.
In her defence, Crawford said Sloat’s actions were out of character.
“A lot of people in Faust say she’s a great person.”
Three letters of character reference for Sloat were also presented in court to back the claim.