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Bookkeeper pleads guilty to stealing $51,000

BY KEITH LACEY The Crown will be seeking a jail sentence against a Sudbury bookkeeper who defrauded her employer of more than $51,000 over an 18-month period.

The Crown will be seeking a jail sentence against a Sudbury bookkeeper who defrauded her employer of more than $51,000 over an 18-month period.

Brenda Callan, 31, pleaded guilty Wednesday to fraud over $5,000, theft over $5,000, using forged documents and using a false document.

Justice Andre Guay ordered a pre-sentence report be prepared before Callan is sentenced. A date for CallanÂ?s sentencing hearing will be set next week.

Assistant Crown attorney Roberta Bald told the court Callan was employed as a bookkeeper at Rematech Industries on Martindale Road.

Between early January of 2000 and late July of 2001, Callan forged the name of her employer on 23 separate occasions and deposited the cheques into her own personal account.

On several other occasions, she signed over cheques to herself that were supposed to be used for petty cash.

She also falsified invoices and made up various distributors during the 18-month scheme, said Bald.

The total amount of money stolen was just over $51,000.

CallanÂ?s employer only discovered the fraud when Callan was away on holidays last summer and he started receiving calls from various suppliers requesting money from overdue accounts, said Bald.

Â?He (employer) didnÂ?t know anything about this,Â? she said.

When police were called in, they discovered boxes of documents at CallanÂ?s Sudbury apartment.

Callan was arrested in early September and she was very co-operative with police and admitted her role in the fraudulent activities, said Bald.

Bald said this scheme involved a serious breach of trust as the scheme was calculated and planned over 18 months.

The Crown will be seeking a jail sentence, she said.

Defence counsel William Beach said Callan has no previous criminal record and a pre-sentence report would assist the court before deciding what an appropriate sentence would be.

Beach will be asking the courts to impose a conditional sentence to be served in the community.

Two weeks ago, another Sudbury bookkeeper was given a 14-month jail sentence after defrauding her employer of $120,000.

A Sudbury man who has finally taken steps to address his serious alcohol abuse problem was spared a jail sentence Wednesday after pleading guilty to breaking into a Chelmsford elementary school and stealing a computer.

Marc Caya, 29, pleaded guilty to break, enter and theft and resisting arrest after being caught by police near the school on Nov. 13, 2002.

Caya smashed a rear window, causing $300 in damage, to gain access to the school.

When the window smashed and he entered, an alarm was triggered and a security company employee arrived on the scene within minutes and saw the accused with the computer and gave chase.

Police were contacted and arrived and found Caya hiding in some tall grass.

When police tried to arrest Caya, he jumped up, took off and jumped into the nearby Whitson River.

Police caught him following a short foot chase after he got out of the river.

When they tried to handcuff him, Caya resisted.

Defence counsel Natalie Boivin said Caya is the separated father of two young children and he suffers from serious back problems which leave him in Â?pretty well constant painÂ?, which is part of the reason his alcohol problem has gotten so bad.

Alcohol abuse has been a major problem in her clientÂ?s life since he was a teenager and Caya was severely intoxicated the night he committed these offences, she said.

Since this incident, Caya has taken alcohol abuse counselling more than once and hasnÂ?t had a drink and plans on remaining clean and sober, she said.

The CrownÂ?s request for a three-month jail sentence is not inappropriate, however, considering CayaÂ?s commitment to turning his life around and abstinence from alcohol a conditional sentence to be served in the community would be appropriate, she said.

Bald said a jail sentence is appropriate as Caya has a history of three previous break and enters, although they date back more than 10 years.

Â?He does need to get the message,Â? she said.

Justice Andre Guay didnÂ?t impose a conditional sentence, but instead imposed 12 months of probation. Caya is to abstain absolutely from consuming alcohol, pay back $300 for the broken window and continue alcohol abuse
counselling, he said.

The experienced judge said itÂ?s clear alcohol abuse is the root cause of all of CayaÂ?s troubles and if he addresses
this he doubts he will return to court in the future.