YG sues former employee over bad cheques

The Yukon government is suing a former employee for issuing over $44,000 in allegedly fraudulent cheques to a local skating club.

The Yukon government is suing a former employee for issuing over $44,000 in allegedly fraudulent cheques to a local skating club.

The lawsuit, filed Dec. 2, alleges Charlene Armstrong used her position working for the Department of Tourism and Culture to issue two fraudulent cheques.

According to the government, she issued a first cheque of nearly $24,600 in May 2013 to the Arctic Edge Skating Club.

She issued a second cheque of more than $19,400 in August that same year to the skating club.

That’s when a clerical error led to “the discovery of the fraud,” the government said.

In the court document, the government says it conducted its own investigation during which Armstrong admitted to forging the necessary paperwork to issue the cheques.

“Further, she admitted that, after the cheque was issued, she had destroyed file copies of the documents relating to the payment,” the statement of claim reads.

Armstrong was fired on Sept. 6, 2013, the government said.

In December 2015, she settled with the government, the lawsuit says, agreeing to repay the amount of the first cheque, plus three per cent interest, which would be around $26,000.

She had to pay by September 2016 or the government would sue her. The government says she didn’t pay the money back.

None of these allegations have been proven in court.

The Arctic Edge Skating Club declined to comment, though it did confirm that Armstrong used to sit on the club’s board as the treasurer.

Multiple calls to Armstrong and her lawyer were not returned by deadline early Wednesday.

The Yukon government provided $34,900 in funding to the Arctic Edge Skating Club for the 2014-2015 fiscal year, according to a June 2014 government press release.

Minutes of the club’s executive committee meeting showed Armstrong was heavily involved in the club’s operations as early as 2008.

Those minutes are available online as far back as 2007, except for a September 2013 meeting that is listed on the website, but with no actual document attached.

Through 2015, the minutes note some discussions that were held in camera — privately with only the executive present and not recorded in the minutes — under the tag “correspondence.”

At the club’s 2012 annual general meeting, Armstrong passed a motion to waive “the audit,” with no information provided on the context of that motion.

While the government’s lawyers addressed a statement of claim to the Yukon law firm Austring, Fendrick & Fairman, it’s not clear whether the firm still represents her.

Last year, the firm went to court over Armstrong’s unpaid legal bills.

In a January 2015 letter Shayne Fairman wrote that Armstrong had accumulated $4,800 in unpaid legal bills and that she had refused to communicate with the law firm.

The file lists three cases the law firm represented her for, including one labelled “misappropriation of funds.”

In February 2015 a Yukon Supreme Court clerk issued an order for Armstong to repay the money. There is no indication in the court file that she did.

Contact Pierre Chauvin at pierre.chauvin@yukon-news.com

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