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Teller gets 90 days for robbing customer

BY MICHAEL JAMES A bank teller who defrauded an elderly man with AlzheimerÂ?s of more than $26,000 was sentenced to 90 days in jail Friday.

A bank teller who defrauded an elderly man with AlzheimerÂ?s of more than $26,000 was sentenced to 90 days in jail Friday.

The defendant, Elizabeth Chretien, 38, who had previously pleaded guilty to the offence, also received 12 months' probation and was ordered to repay the money to the Bank of Nova Scotia.

Crown attorney Fran Howe, in her pre-sentencing report, told the court Chretien was employed as a bank teller at both the Lorne Street branch and the Barrydowne Road branch of the Bank of Nova Scotia in Sudbury.

Between September of 2000 and December 2001, Chretien made between 30-35 withdrawals from the account of a senior citizen, who has since died.

ChretienÂ?s employer only discovered the fraud when the victimÂ?s wife came into the bank complaining of irregularities in the coupleÂ?s joint bank account.

Police were called , and after an audit, Chretien was suspended with pay.

She was subsequently dismissed, following her arrest in December 2002.

People who engage in such fraudulent acts are inevitably caught and brought to justice, said city police fraud unit detective Dick Kress.

Â?The Canadian banking system, as a whole, has a pretty good system of checks and balances,Â? Kress said.

According to the defendantÂ?s former bank manager, an examination of bank records indicated a series of withdrawals between $500 and $1000 over the 15 months, and sometimes as much as $3,000.

The Bank of Nova Scotia has already paid the money back to the Canning family, she told Northern Life.

The bank has petitioned the court for full restitution.

Initially, Chretien denied any and all responsibility for the thefts, she said.

Â?The only time she accepted responsibility or showed any remorse was when she appeared before the judge (to
enter her plea),Â? the bank manager said.

In imposing the jail term, Justice R.G.S. Del Frate said he wanted to send out a strong message to the community that preying upon the most vulnerable members of the community will not be tolerated.

Â?Actions of this nature, against challenged citizens, particularly seniors, will not be tolerated,Â? Del Frate said. Â?
These citizens must be protected by society.Â?

The Crown asked the judge for a six-month jail sentence and two years probation. Defence counsel Louis SolaÂ?s asked the judge to consider a number of mitigating factors before imposing sentence.

Sola also requested the sentence be served intermittently, as his client had only recently started a part-time job.

Del Frate said he took into consideration the defendantÂ?s immediate admission of guilt to her employer, her co-operation with police, her decision to enter a guilty plea Â? thereby sparing the court time and money Â? her lack of a previous criminal record, extreme remorse and the embarrassment to her family.

In the end, the judge sentenced Chretien to a 90 day jail term, to be served on consecutive weekends until the sentence is completed.

Starting this Friday Chretien will be incarcerated at 8 pm. until Monday morning at 6 am. In such circumstances, it is likely she will have to serve the full 90 days.

Each weekend in jail is counted as four days of time served.