The woman hired to replace Anita Dunkers as bookkeeper for the Capital Families Association in January 2010 testified Thursday about the financial problems she began to notice during her first weeks on the job.
Dunkers, the former bookkeeper of the now-closed association, is on trial for fraud in B.C. Supreme Court. The Crown is alleging she wrote 247 fraudulent cheques, embezzling more than $200,000 from the charity between January 2008 and January 2010.
Dunkers was employed by the charity from January 2008 to January 2010. Capital Families closed in the spring of 2011 after providing child, youth and family programs for 34 years.
With a $1-million budget, up to 25 employees and sizable contracts with the provincial Ministry for Children and Family Development, the association had been one of the major providers of such services on the West Shore.
Dunkers replacement, Ashley Xu, told Justice Geoffrey Gaul that the bookkeeping desk was a mess. She found a final notice from Revenue Canada and letters from suppliers demanding payment.
I did try to open some accounts but there seems to be so many problems, testified Xu. The balance for so many accounts doesnt make sense to me.
Eventually, Xu discussed the problems she was discovering with Prairie Escallier, the associations former executive director. Xu testified she told Escallier she didnt think there was a cash flow problem. I believe the Capital Families had another kind of problem, she said.
Xu started looking for more information in the associations general ledger and accounts payable. She noticed many employees were getting paid in addition to their pay cheques.
I couldnt say anything because I did not know what kind of money people were getting, Xu told the court.
On Jan. 20, when Xu was asked to make a payment for employee RRSP benefits, she used the opportunity to talk to general manager Jennifer Lucas.
So many payments had been made to her, Xu testified. She showed Lucas the general accounts for December 2009. It showed four or five cheques had been written to Lucas, Xu said. Lucas then talked to Escallier.
Xu said she realized then that there were other problems in the organization.
Xu told Escallier there were missing bank statements and cancelled cheques dated before November 2009. She told Escallier they needed to get printed copies of the missing statements from the bank and all copies of cancelled cheques for the past three years.
Both Xu and Escallier started going through the associations account on the Coast Capital website looking for cancelled cheques. Xu discovered that the cheques listed on the general ledger for other employees including Lucas were actually paid to Dunkers.
Xu organized the cancelled cheques, making a list of those that were paid to Dunkers from January 2008 to June 2010. The total was about $200,000, she said.
Xu wrote down some information for the police. She also printed out the associations 23-page general ledger for investigators and gave them a copy of her list.
© Copyright 2013