Bad Gambling Decisions lead to Prison for Calgary Woman
Every moderate punter can agree, we’ve all made bad gambling decisions over the years. Betting on a long shot at the track, splitting a pair of 2’s in blackjack, or perhaps using the ‘auto play’ function at the online slots. These all qualify. But one woman’s bad decision earned her a direct ticket to Alberta’s finest jail cells.
Linda Louise Miller of Calgary, Alberta, found herself facing severe charges of embezzlement after it was discovered that she stole a staggering $1.422 million from her employer. The theft took place over an elongated period of 8 years before the company, Trimac Corp, ever caught on to what was happening.
Following a brief trial in April in which Ms. Miller plead guilty to the charges, a joint Crown-defence submitted its opinion that she be sentenced to 4 year in prison for her crimes. Family members of the accused struggled to hold back tears as Provincial Court Judge Allan Fradsham agreed to that assessment.
Miller’s family was reasonably angered by the judgment, as was her attorney, Lori MacKay. As the lawyer pointed out in Miller’s defence, “There was no lavish lifestyle being supported by this,” and her client cooperated with investigators throughout the entire process.
However, cooperation and a guilty plea don’t alter the fact that Ms. Miller’s extenuating crimes were based on an exponential mound of bad gambling decisions.
After working for Trimac Corp since 1992, MacKay explained that her client had initially taken money from the company to pay down outstanding debts. She “had every intentions of paying that back,” MacKay told the courts.
Unfortunately, that never happened. Miller’s initial debts spiraled out of control as she progressively lost an estimated 75% of the total $1.422 million she had embezzled on casino gambling. This behavior continued from 2005 up until 2013, when she was terminated upon discovery of her actions.
MacKay argued that Miller’s sentence should be a lenient one, if not for her tenure or admission of guilt, at least for the fact that she tried to remove herself from the situation. She explained that, at one point, Miller tried to step down fro her position as social club treasurer; a position that gave her easy access to funds meant for the club.
Her attempts to step down failed, though, said MacKay. Since no one was willing to take over that role, she said Miller was forced to continue handling those funds. And that lead her to continue intercepting company cheques and falsifying expense reports to cover up further thefts.
Judge Fradsham acquiesced to the argument that Ms. Miller was genuinely remorseful of her actions. In the same token, he said that’s no excuse for her criminal actions and violation of trust that’s dealt a devastating blow to the her colleagues and family.
“A corporation is made up of individuals and it’s a blow to them,” said Judge Fradsham. “And the fact that it’s a corporation doesn’t minimize the loss,” he added, eliminating any possible defence that a large corporation won’t be scourged by a $1.4 million loss.
Along with a 4 year prison sentence, Ms. Miller has been ordered to pay restitution, including forfeiture of generated pension, as well as $100,000 in retirement funds.
Judge Fradsham also suggested that Ms. Miller be imprisoned in a facility near Calgary, providing her family with easy access to regular visitation. Oddly enough, there was no mention of Ms. Miller being required to undergo treatment for gambling addiction.
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