The former treasurer of a local children’s non-profit group pleaded guilty to fraud over $5,000 on Thursday and was sentenced to two years behind bars.
Asa Wedman, who was the treasurer of the Children’s Heart Society until the fall of 2016, was also ordered to pay back $206,281.20.
Wedman, 41, broke down in court Thursday morning and sobbed.
Wedman’s lawyer, Edmond O’Neill, said his client feels guilty and ashamed. He told the judge Wedman has lost his good name and his wife left him.
O’Neill called the fraud “unsophisticated,” and told the court that Wedman had lost his job and intended to take a little bit of money to support his family. He said the money was not spent on luxuries, which he said was not an excuse, but an explanation.
Wedman and his family used the Children’s Heart Society for support. One of his children was diagnosed with a heart defect. That child was born deaf, is legally blind and non-verbal. He is now seven but his life expectancy is between 10 and 15 years.
“He does have a sympathetic backstory and we were very appreciative of his apology,” Children’s Heart Society president Andrea Luft said.
Luft read a victim impact statement in court on Thursday about how Wedman’s actions impacted the charity and the families it helps.
“For a while, when we couldn’t provide our regular programming, it was very upsetting,” she said. “They rely on our programming. We provide family support systems and networks, and without that, our families felt a little lost.”
Wedman was ordered to pay back the money by the end of December. A civil suit has also been filed by the charity.
He was charged in May 2017 with two counts of theft over $5,000 and two counts of fraud over $5,000 in connection with fraud totalling more than $206,000.
An investigation began in the fall of 2016 and uncovered “multiple fraudulent transactions” withdrawn from the Children’s Heart Society bank accounts.
In an agreed statement of facts, both sides said the transactions were made between November 2013 and September 2016.
Read the full story over at Global News.