June 21st, 2024

Man awaits sentencing for defrauding former employer


By Delon Shurtz on June 1, 2021.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A southern Alberta man hopes a judge doesn’t send him to jail for defrauding his former employer of more than $40,000.
“I’ve learned my lesson,” Mark David Robinson told Judge Kristin Ailsby during a sentencing hearing Friday in Lethbridge provincial court. 
The Crown is recommending Robinson, 39, be sent to jail for a year, while Calgary Lawyer Jim Edgett has asked Ailsby to sentence his client to house arrest.
Crown Prosecutor Bruce Ainscough told court that even though Robinson no longer worked for Year Round Landscaping when he defrauded the company of $41,463 between November 2017 and January 2018, there was still an element of trust involved, which warrants an actual jail sentence.
Edgett, however, disagrees, and argued trust is not an issue since Robinson had been fired about three weeks before he committed the frauds.
Robinson had worked for the Calgary company for about 17 years before the company sent him to live and work in Lethbridge for three years. After about six months, however, he was given three days notice to return to Calgary, and he refused. He was fired, and shortly afterward took out his revenge by purchasing nearly $42,000 worth of goods from Lethbridge businesses, using either a business purchase order or another employee’s credit card. 
“While he may not have been an actual employee when these frauds were committed, he certainly was a very recent former employee that had confidential company information that allowed him to carry out these frauds,” Ainscough said.
He suggested Robinson’s motivation was spite, revenge and greed, and he only stopped the criminal activity after he was caught.
On Jan. 3, 2018 Lethbridge police were called to a city business where Robinson was picking up items he had previously ordered. However, the business called Year Round Landscaping to confirm the phone-in order and were told the company had not ordered anything.
Police were contacted, but before they arrived Robinson said he had made a mistake and attempted to leave. While employees tried to keep him in an office, Robinson yanked open the door and fled, leaving behind his cellphone and hat.
Police identified Robinson through video surveillance and learned he had perpetrated similar crimes at other Lethbridge businesses.
Edgett pointed out Robinson’s addiction to cocaine caused him to commit the frauds, but added he now “seems to be past this drug addiction.”
He argued Robinson should be given a one-year conditional sentence, which typically comprises house arrest and curfew, and noted Robinson had already served more than four months in custody after he was arrested, and is not a risk to commit more offences.
Edgett also reminded court that if Robinson breaches his conditional sentence, he would likely be required to spend an even longer time in actual jail.
Although Robinson told the judge he has been sober for nearly seven months and no longer resents his former employer, Ainscough pointed out he’s never tried to make amends.
And after he was arrested then released on bail, he failed to show up for subsequent court hearings and had to be arrested again.
“That just demonstrates that this accused has had no remorse; he’s made no attempt to pay any restitution. He only stopped this conduct when he got caught.” 
Judge Ailsby has reserved her decision until June 11.

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