Woman sentenced for defrauding seniors of more than $300,000

Barbara Giroux was given a conditional sentence Monday in Victoria provincial for two counts of fraud that netted her $318,775.66.

Judge Sue Wishart said that Giroux was guilty of “significant” fraud, and committed seven acts against two senior couples while working as a receptionist at now-defunct Michaels Wealth Management.

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The total involved was more than $400,000, but taxes and other fees brought down the overall amount.

The 44-year-old Giroux was supported in the courtroom by her husband and other relatives as Wishart detailed a conditional sentence of two years less a day. Sentences of under two years are served in the provincial rather than the federal system.

Crown attorney Kimberly Henders Miller had called for jail time of 18 months to 21Ú2 years.

In granting a conditional term, Wishart cited the “extreme personal circumstances” that affected Giroux, including borderline intellectual ability and a great deal of dependency on others, especially her husband.

Giroux was examined by a medical expert who confirmed a number of difficulties in her life.

Still, deterrence in such cases of fraud is important, Wishart said, and anyone considering such fraud should expect serious consequences for their actions.

Both couples were reimbursed by the insurance company they dealt with, but Giroux has been ordered to pay restitution of $9,056.45 to one of the couples for legal fees and other expenses incurred.

Wishart also issued the equivalent of a civil judgment in regard to the $318,775.66 and the Empire Life Insurance Co.

“It’s up the company as to whether or not they wish to take action against you,” she said to Giroux.

Terms of Giroux’s sentence include 12 months of house arrest followed by a period with a daily curfew of 10 p.m.-6 a.m.

jwbell@timescolonist.com

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