A man who committed a nearly $44,000 fraud against a local business while working there was sentenced to house arrest this week.
Patrick McMurray pleaded guilty to a single count of fraud over $5,000 on Monday. He will also be on probation for a year.
In October 2009 McMurray was the store manager at ICI Paints when the company’s regional manager approached the RCMP, revealing the fraud.
Between June 2008 and October 2009, McMurray made 112 separate fraudulent refunds through the store’s registers.
In each case, the refund was for a customer that didn’t exist and the refund amount was sent to McMurray’s debit card. In total the fraudulent refunds added up to $43,694.94.
McMurray was forthcoming almost immediately after the RCMP started questioning him about having made the refunds. Defence lawyer Greg McAllister said the young man ran into a series of financial problems after a car accident.
The company sued McMurray. McAllister told the court that the settlement will see him pay the full amount of the fraud as well as legal fees, totalling almost $60,000.
In arguing for house arrest, McAllister said McMurray would be paying for his crime in one way or another, for a long time.
“Mr. McMurray will have this hanging over his head in several ways for years to come.”
Judge Leo Burgess said while the house arrest was suitable, McMurray’s crime was significant.
“He knew clearly what he was doing. He was moving in a premeditated and calculated manner.”
Burgess also noted McMurray’s pre-sentence report had indicated the man might have a problem with alcohol and he wanted to see him address it.
During the first eight months of house arrest, McMurray will be allowed out of his home only for work, counselling and a handful of other exceptions.
For the last four months he must follow a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew.
He will be required to take counselling and abstain from alcohol. His 12 months of probation won’t include any kind of curfew, but he will have to continue with any counselling and continue abstaining from alcohol.