Woman charged with defrauding Central Okanagan Hospice Association jailed for another matter

Steen to return to court in January for Kelowna matter.

One of the women accused of defrauding the Central Okanagan Hospice Association has been sentenced to four months in jail and two years of probation for a similar crime in Nanaimo.

Court records indicate that Susan Maureen Steen, 71, was handed down the sentence Dec. 20 in a Nanaimo courtroom.

Steen pleaded guilty in April to a charge of fraud and theft, stemming from a complaint by the Nanaimo Community Hospice Society, where she had been employed as an executive director.

Steen had allegedly misused $6,000 from the non-profit’s credit card. She was fired in June 2017, which was roughly six months after she was hired, for the discrepancy.

Steen and her former assistant Melanie Gray are also charged with theft over $5,000 and fraud over $5,000 relating to missing money at the Central Okanagan Hospice Association and that matter is in court for January.

Court documents indicate Steen, on Sept. 12, 2012, allegedly defrauded COHA of $71 by making a false claim for a cellphone expense. She is also accused of stealing upward of $109,000 from COHA between July 2012 and April 2016, by using the hospice’s credit card.

Gray, according to court documents, is accused of stealing $69,000 between February 2013 and November 2015 by using the hospice’s credit card.

While Steen has not answered calls made to her, she hasn’t been inactive in the area.

“Susan has been volunteering with HOPE Okanagan since June 2017,” said Angie Lohr, with the Helping Out People Exploited outreach program.

“Susan did not, at any time, handle any finances or decision-making power for HOPE Okanagan. On Nov. 29, 2018, Susan stepped away from all volunteer positions in light of the charges that have been laid against her.”

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