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Former bookkeeper charged in theft of $1.7 million from non-profit group

The money was used to buy such things as gold, cryptocurrency and a new vehicle, Victoria police said
Victoria officers arrested Galyna Kulykova at Vancouver International Airport in December as she was returning to Canada

A former bookkeeper for a non-profit organization has been charged after police determined more than $1.7 million had been stolen and used to buy such things as gold, cryptocurrency and a new vehicle.

Galyna Kulykova, who was arrested by the Victoria Police Major Crime Unit in December, faces charges of fraud over $5,000, theft over $5,000 and falsifying documents.

The non-profit group Alacrity Canada told police on Dec. 6 that a scheduled audit had revealed its bookkeeper had been wiring money from the organization to her personal accounts since earlier in the year.

Alacrity Canada, which supports early-stage companies and entrepreneurs, said in a statement it contacted police when it discovered it was a victim of “criminal financial fraud” committed by a former employee.

“When this was brought to our attention, we took immediate action and reported the activity to the Victoria Police Department, and the incident remains under investigation,” the organization said.

“We are grateful for their support and continue to co-operate with their investigative team.”

The organization said it remains “in strong financial health” and none of its programs or initiatives will be or have been affected by what has happened.

Victoria officers arrested Kulykova at Vancouver International Airport as she was returning to Canada, with assistance from the RCMP police-liaison officer based at the Canadian Embassy in Turkey, Nanaimo RCMP, the Canada Border Services Agency and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency.

She was later released with conditions pending a future court date.

Investigators have so far recovered $900,000 of the stolen money, and efforts are ongoing to recover the full amount, police said.

“I’m proud of the officers involved for their prompt investigative work and co-ordination with other agencies to make this arrest and recover funds,” said Victoria Police Chief Del Manak.

“This is a clear example of how our efforts put money back into the hands of citizens and businesses in Victoria and Esquimalt.”

Police believe other organizations might have been defrauded by the same bookkeeper, and are asking for any potential victims or people with additional information to contact them at 250-995-7654 extension 1, and reference file number 23-45435.

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