| Posted: Wednesday, Sep 11, 2013 06:00 am
A “difference of philosophy” was how an Edmonton woman described her reason for defrauding more than $11,000 from a St. Albert seniors retirement community.
Michelle C. Goulet appeared in St. Albert court Monday and pleaded guilty to obtaining credit by a false pretence or by fraud.
Goulet was a former manager at Citadel Village, an independent senior and supportive living facility in St. Albert. Court heard that she used the company credit card to buy large amounts of groceries from Safeway and Save-On Foods in Edmonton, St. Albert and Stony Plain between November 2010 and October 2011.
She submitted the receipts under expense categories such as “staff appreciation” and “gluten-free” meals, areas for which her job description did not require her to make purchases.
An internal investigation launched by Christenson Communities, the company that runs Citadel Village, found that Goulet racked up $11,471.40 for the purchases of food, meals, alcohol and gift cards. It was unclear whether the purchased products were used by residents or by Goulet personally.
Upon admitting to her spending habits, Goulet was suspended with pay and eventually terminated.
Court learned the 42-year-old has been working in supportive living facilities and seniors’ homes since 1994, starting off as a dietitian and eventually working her way into management.
Goulet’s lawyer said senior clients appealed to Goulet make changes at the home and what emerged was a “difference in philosophy” between Goulet and Christenson Communities in how the facility was running.
Her motive – built up resentment and hostility towards the company – resulted in her exercising “very strange judgment.”
“While in your mind the motives may have been proper, it was clearly the wrong one to make,” said Judge Bruce Garriock.
Taking into account that Goulet had no prior criminal record, Garriock sentenced her to 18 months of house arrest, a $100 victim fine surcharge and a court order to pay Christenson Communities $11,471.40.
Goulet paid the restitution in full before she left court. She is also banned from stepping foot in Citadel Village.
A St. Albert man earned two months in jail after crashing a car into a tree and running away.
Patrick John Desroche appeared in St. Albert court via closed-circuit television from the Edmonton Remand Centre and pleaded guilty to theft of a motor vehicle and failure to stop at the scene of an accident.
Court heard that, on Aug. 24 around 3 a.m., RCMP found an abandoned 2011 black Dodge Challenger that had struck two trees on St. Anne Street by the St. Albert courthouse.
Officers traced the licence plate and determined Desroche had stolen the car from his father’s garage. They tracked down the 19-year-old around 5:45 a.m. walking on a path underneath St. Albert Trail by the Sturgeon River.
Desroche, with visible head injuries and signs of intoxication, admitted to police he had taken the vehicle and had picked up two friends – aged 16 and 13 – around 2:30 a.m. that morning. He had been drinking and smoking marijuana, so he had a foggy memory of what transpired that night. What he did admit to officers was that he had sped up to 120 kilometres per hour on St. Anne Street before he lost control of the vehicle. The speed limit is 50 kilometres per hour.
Officers determined that all three people in the vehicle had sustained head injuries when the car hit the tree.
“By the luck of God there wasn’t anything more serious than that,” said Garriock, noting that Desroche put passengers and possible bystanders not only at risk of injury, but risk of death.
Defence counsel asked the court for a 30-day sentence, stating that Desroche had found out that evening his best friend had died.
Garriock handed down a sentence of 60 days in jail with 18 months of probation after his release. Desroche will have to abstain from alcohol, non-prescribed drugs and other intoxicating substances. He is also banned from driving for one year.