Dec. 20, 2018 (courtesy of CTVnews.ca) – A woman is facing charges in connection to a fraud case that resulted in the embezzlement of over $700,000 from an organization that supports local charities.
Police say a former operations manager at the Calgary office of Colliers International allegedly wrote more than 90 cheques to herself from the Colliers Cares Foundation account. It is also believed that she wrote two cheques from the same account to the Canadian Progress Club – Calgary Mount Royal, while she was the president and treasurer.
Investigators estimate that the total loss to the Foundation account was $561,000.
The woman also allegedly forged cheques in the amount of $147,000 from the organization’s corporate account to the foundation account in order to cover up the fraudulent activity.
A 10-month police investigation revealed that the woman used the money to buy a home in Calgary and two properties in B.C. as well as to make vehicle payments, buy a vehicle and purchase merchandise.
“The investigation does show that, and it is believed, that she did purchase at least one property here and that some of the funds were used for vehicle payments as well as to trade a vehicle in and purchase a newer vehicle with the proceeds of the fraud,” said CPS Detective Tanya Bertulli. “From my experience this is a larger dollar amount than what we typically see.”
Nicole Mann, 35, was arrested on Saturday and is charged with:
- One count of fraud over $5,000
- One count of theft over $5,000
- One count of laundering the proceeds of crime
In a statement to CTV Calgary, Colliers International said that it was notified by Calgary police of the charges involving the Colliers Cares Foundation…
We were surprised and deeply disappointed when we discovered that an offense may have been committed. This incident does not reflect who we are, the values we hold or the intent of the foundation.
We conducted an internal audit and forensic investigation early in 2018 and discovered evidence that fraud had occurred. We then promptly notified police. We also reviewed our accounts and the foundation’s accounting procedures to ensure the situation was contained.
We take this incident very seriously and have done everything we can to proactively respond to the situation. Colliers Canada has operated in Calgary for 15 years, and we are proud of our work supporting our clients, business partners and the community.
The fraudulent activity is alleged to have happened over the last four years and police are encouraging anyone with information to come forward.
“I do believe that there is individuals or organizations that have further information and they are encouraged to come forward and make a formal complaint to the Calgary Police Service,” said Bertulli
Mann is scheduled to appear in court on January 9, 2019.