Barbara Giroux occasionally dabbed her eyes with a tissue as Crown lawyer Kimberly Henders Miller went over the facts of the case Tuesday in Victoria provincial court.
Henders Miller said the circumstances of the fraud, which she said included a significant breach of trust, call for a jail term of 18 months to 21Ú2 years. She said she expects the defence to call for a conditional sentence when it makes its presentation at a later date.
“This is a grave offence and the degree of responsibility of Ms. Giroux is very high in this case,” Henders Miller said.
She said the fraud was especially hard on an older couple who Giroux had once stayed with as a tenant. Henders Miller said the couple considered Giroux to be “like a daughter,” and were shocked when she took money from their accounts.
The husband, in his early 70s, has had subsequent health setbacks, which his wife attributes to the stress of the case.
The insurance company involved has since reimbursed the victims, but Henders Miller said legal costs remain.
Henders Miller said Giroux’s crimes involved considerable planning. She was working at the time with Michaels Wealth Management, which is no longer in operation. One of Giroux’s techniques was to change the addresses on accounts so that the victims would not receive any updates.
When questions were raised, Giroux would blame computer problems or make up other issues, Henders Miller said.
The fraud took place between March 2010 and March 2011.
“It’s not clear where all the money has gone,” Henders Miller said.
She said a good portion of it appears to have been put toward credit card bills.
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