April 22nd, 2024

Accused in university theft case awaits trial date


By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on March 15, 2022.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

The lawyer for a 58-year-old woman accused of stealing more than half a million dollars from the University of Lethbridge says efforts to prepare for trial are “chugging along,” but trial dates have yet to be set.
Calgary lawyer Rabie Ahmed said Monday in Lethbridge Court of Queen’s Bench that the matter has made some progress since he and the Crown prosecutor met with a judge in a pre-trial conference recently. And although trial dates were expected Monday, Ahmed noted further discussions are needed and he asked for a two-week adjournment.
“We’re just crossing our t’s and dotting our i’s while we get this matter to a trial,” Ahmed told the judge.
The accused, Donna Court, pleaded not guilty Dec. 7 of last year to charges of fraud over $5,000, theft over $5,000 and possession of stolen property over $5,000. Court also elected to be tried by a Court of Queen’s Bench judge.
Court, a former accounting clerk at the University of Lethbridge, was charged last 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 records had been falsified to conceal 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.”

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