May 23rd, 2024

Former U of L clerk accused of stealing $580,000 pleads not guilty


By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on December 8, 2021.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A Lethbridge woman accused of stealing more than half a million dollars from the University, has pleaded not guilty to three criminal charges.
The pleas to charges of fraud over $5,000, theft over $5,000 and possession of stolen property over $5,000, were entered Tuesday in Lethbridge provincial court by the accused’s lawyer, Rabie Ahmed of Calgary. Ahmed also pointed out his client has chosen to be tried by a Court of Queen’s Bench judge.
Court, a former accounting clerk at the University of Lethbridge, was charged in April following a police investigation that began in 2018.
The U of L contacted police after detecting a potential fraud through its internal processes, and investigators with the economic crimes unit of the Lethbridge Police Service determined an employee had falsified records and concealed the theft of more than $500,000.
“In March 2018, University of Lethbridge employees discovered a fraud perpetrated by a fellow employee,” the university said in a statement following Court’s arrest.
The statement said an employee with more than 30 years of experience at the University, “abused her detailed knowledge of the financial systems of the U of L and falsified records to conceal the estimated theft of $580,000.”
Court, 57, was fired after the fraud and theft were discovered.
The case has been adjourned several times since the accused’s first court appearance last June, to allow time for defence to receive disclosure from Specialized Prosecutions in Calgary. When the last of the disclosure finally arrived in late September, the matter had to be adjourned several more times so Ahmed could review the “extensive” amount of information.
The matter is set for arraignment in Court of Queen’s Bench on Jan. 10, 2022.

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