A former principal at Altadore School in Southwest Calgary pleads guilty to forgery

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Alexander McKay, the former principal at Altadore school in Southwest Calgary, has pleaded guilty to a charge of forgery in relation to a multi-year scheme that diverted $200,000 from the Calgary Board of Education to a personal bank account he shared with his wife.

McKay issued a brief apology during the virtual court hearing on Friday, “I realize that decisions that I made and actions that I took have hurt a number of people, and for that I am deeply, deeply sorry and apologize for that.”

Based on the agreed statement of facts read by Crown prosecutor Tom Buglas, McKay submitted around 100 false invoices that were paid to “non-existent” CBE vendors totalling $200,000 between 2014 and 2017.

Buglas also stated to the court that “rather than use the school’s ‘purchase card’ to make purchases, Mckay purportedly used his own credit card, then sought reimbursement, which came in the form of cheques made out to his spouse, who worked part-time for CBE at various schools” and said “this crime is egregious. It was committed by an entrusted, professional member of our society.”

The prosecutor said “The crime was committed over an extended period of time for approximately three years. It involved false paperwork for each and every transaction.”

In January 2017, the CBE became aware of financial irregularities and retained a forensic accountant to investigate.

A few weeks later, CBE personnel seized computer equipment and hard drives from McKay’s office and contacted the Calgary police with the results of the forensic audit, and provided “several boxes of hard copy financial and other documentation.”

McKay was arrested in December 2019 and charged with fraud over $5,000, forgery and money laundering.

On Friday he pleaded guilty to forgery, while the two other charges were withdrawn. At the time of his arrest, McKay told police that all of the money had been repaid to the CBE.

Justice Eidsvik considered that to be one of several mitigating factors during the sentencing, along with McKay’s guilty plea, which prevented a two-week trial that would have heard from 23 Crown witnesses. She also mentioned that McKay doesn’t have a previous criminal record.

CBC reported that McKay was sentenced to two years less a day, to be served under house arrest for the first nine months of the sentence. He’ll have to follow a 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. curfew for the next nine months.

It’s believed McKay used the money to pay for “day-to-day expenses,” and to pay for his now-deceased mother’s long-term care home payment. This article was originally sourced by CBC.