For the Lakeside Leader
A woman who managed finances for a Faust service organization will spend the next several months behind bars, after stealing more than $75,000 to offset losses to a gambling habit.
Nancy Sloat, 57, was sentenced to six months in jail after pleading guilty in in High Prairie Provincial Court on Oct. 30, to a charge of fraud over $5,000.
Sloat was alleged to have taken $75,102 from the Faust Community League. She served there as a volunteer bookkeeper over a three-year period from 2015 to 2017, Crown Prosecutor Terrance Hudson told the court.
Hudson and Sloat’s lawyer had made a joint submission to the court, recommending the six-month sentence. A charge of forgery was dropped.
Judge G.W. Paul agreed with the joint submission.
“There are serious consequences for this type of behaviour,” he said.
Sloat expressed remorse in a letter to the community league. She explained her actions helped feed her gambling addiction.
“My gambling got out of control,” she wrote, “and the finances were unmanageable and then I started taking money. It started small but got bigger and bigger.”
The court ordered Sloat to pay restitution of $57,369, the balance owing after she paid some of it back.
Before sentencing, Sloat completed a 20-day treatment program, which she says has helped.
“I still have a long road to recovery ahead of me,” she wrote, “both mentally and financially, but I’m taking it one day at a time and working towards a better lifestyle and towards gaining trust and forgiveness from my community.”
Judge Paul advised Sloat to stay clear of bookkeeping, or similar roles.
“You should never again put yourself or the community in a position where you manage funds,” he said.
Paul also reminded Sloat that gambling can be a lifelong addiction, even though she has taken steps to recover.
The judge did give Sloat credit for apologizing and admitting her actions after they were discovered. After reading the victim impact statement, however, he said the issue divided the community, and many questioned the league’s leadership.
Sloat’s lawyer Allan Crawford told the court her actions were out of character.
“A lot of people in Faust say she’s a great person,” he said.