A former finance director of the Abbotsford Police Department (APD) who embezzled $312,000 has pleaded guilty to two of the three criminal charges she faced.
According to the provincial court database, Shelley Mickens, 63, pleaded guilty on April 12 in Vancouver provincial court to charges of breach of trust by a public officer and fraud over $5,000.
A third charge of theft over $5,000 is expected to be stayed at sentencing, which will be scheduled for a later date.
Mickens, who is also known by the surnames of Boyce or Bursill, served as the APD finance director from April 1999 to June 2016.
The police board and the City of Abbotsford launched a civil suit – separate from criminal charges – against her in 2017, initially saying that she had stolen $192,000.
That amount was later amended to more than $312,000 after further discrepancies were discovered in police board accounting records.
Mickens was ordered to pay a total of $312,417, as well as the City of Abbotsford’s court costs of $15,000.
The criminal investigation was launched in 2017.
Court records for the civil lawsuit indicated that Mickens acquired the funds by preparing petty cash vouchers that contained “false and misleading information,” making misleading entries in the accounting record-keeping system and under-reporting cash payments.
Petty cash can be requested by an officer or employee of the APD to reimburse expenses – for example, to pay informants during the course of an investigation.
The petty cash vouchers are supposed to be signed by both the person issuing the voucher – another employee of the finance branch besides the director – and by the person receiving the cash.
But the court documents indicated that discrepancies in some of these transactions were discovered, including that some of the vouchers were in Mickens’ handwriting with her initials and were prepared on dates that the person normally handling the petty cash disbursements was out of the office.
As well, some of the vouchers were not signed by the party supposedly receiving the funds or were signed using initials that could not be matched to an existing employee.
The court documents indicated that the discrepancies were discovered after Mickens retired in June 2016. They occurred from 2013 to 2016.
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