By Kalinowski, Tim on August 14, 2019.
The Lethbridge Police Service has laid charges against a former employee of Lethbridge County for allegedly stealing taxpayer dollars over a three-year period between 2016 and 2019.
Brandi Leanne Doucette, 40, of Lethbridge, is charged with fraud over $5,000, possession of the proceeds of crime over $5,000 and altering documents.
According to the LPS, an investigation by members of the Economic Crimes Unit was initiated after the alleged theft was reported by Lethbridge County back in May. Investigators subsequently determined that a total of approximately $49,000 – some of the money from tax payments- had been stolen from the County office between 2016 and 2019.
Acting Sgt. Paolo Maggliocco of the Economic Crimes Unit says investigators looked into the matter thoroughly before deciding to lay charges.
“These investigations are typically complex,” states Maggliocco. “And they can be very sensitive in nature; especially when we deal with the theft of government money. These types of thefts are actually considered some of the most serious types of theft, and the courts have shown that in the past.
“Committing theft from your employer is very serious, and it is typically dealt with very seriously. Your jeopardy is very high as a person who commits theft from your employer. We do have to make sure the investigation is absolutely thorough because of that jeopardy.”
Lethbridge County chief administrative officer Ann Mitchell released a statement to the media following news of the charges.
“We are saddened and disappointed at the outcome of the investigation,” Mitchell’s statement reads. “We want to assure our citizens that although funds were misappropriated, no individual accounts were affected. Lethbridge County has since implemented several additional internal controls to mitigate any future risk and will be seeking restitution from the accused.”
Doucette has been released on a recognizance and is scheduled to appear in court Aug. 27 to answer to the charges.
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