Winnipeg woman convicted of unrelated charges narrowly avoids fraud charges in court

Supported By:

Net Patrol International Inc.  Data Investigation and Forensic Services
Bankruptcy and Insolvency Trustees

A woman convicted of hiding infant remains in a storage unit dodged an unrelated fraud allegation last fall.

Andrea Giesbrecht, then 43, was sentenced to more than eight years in prison in July 2017 for concealing the remains of six infants in a U-Haul locker in Winnipeg. She is serving her sentence outside Manitoba but appealing the conviction and seeking bail.

Marion Baronins and her son, Robert Baronins, named Giesbrecht and the Winnipeg Police Credit Union Limited in a $9,405.15 civil suit filed in February 2017. According to court documents obtained by CBC News, the Baronins withdrew their lawsuit Sept. 25, 2017.

Giesbrecht’s defence has said she struggled with gambling addiction for more than a decade and has been charged with defrauding several people and businesses dating back to at least 2011.

She previously pleaded guilty to defrauding a senior of $7,850 after writing bad cheques and not repaying the woman.

In January 2016, Giesbrecht pleaded guilty to defrauding Employment and Income Assistance of more than $5,000 between December 2011 and May 2012.

Giesbrecht previously pleaded guilty to an unrelated fraud charge over $5,000 in April 2016 and had another fraud charge under $5,000 dropped as a result.

The Baronins originally argued Giesbrecht “manipulated” and “induced” Marion into removing thousands of dollars from her shared savings account with her son at the Winnipeg Police Credit Union Limited between August 2013 and Sept. 30, 2014.

Amy MacAngus with Hill Sokalski Walsh Olson LLP, which represented the credit union, declined to comment Monday, but in May 2017 court documents the firm denied it did anything wrong. Giesbrecht was often with Marion Baronins when the withdrawals were made through a teller or ATM at the credit union on William Avenue, according the Baronins’ statement of claim.

That changed as of Sept. 15, 2013, when Giesbrecht started withdrawing money from the Baronins’ account after getting her hands on their debit card and PIN “through coercion and intimidation,” the statement of claim reads.

The Baronins alleged workers at the credit union knew Marion well and were “aware of the illegal acts of Giesbrecht.”

Giesbrecht began making withdrawals from the credit union ATM without Marion present, and she wasn’t caught until a bank teller refused to let her deposit a personalized blank cheque belonging to Marion Baronins, the claim reads.

The Baronins said the credit union refused to provide them with copies of the blank cheque after the fact, failed to protect the account, didn’t notify Robert Baronins and did not investigate the suspicious activity.

Read the full story over at CBC News

This story was summarized by Canadian Fraud News Inc.