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Massive fraud at Calgary company 'went unnoticed', police say

Calgary Police Service (file) Calgary Police Service (file)
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Calgary police say a woman who posed as a chartered professional accountant for an oil and gas company is facing charges after she allegedly defrauded the company for nearly two years.

Officials say the woman first joined the company in October 2013, working as an accountant on a temporary contract. Among her duties, she was assigned to be the business's sole administrator of its third-party payroll system.

Police say she was also the only person who had access to the company's credit card account.

"During this time, the woman allegedly set herself up as a full-time, salary-based employee on the company’s payroll system and used company funds to fraudulently pay herself $254,856," police said in a release.

In addition, police believe she used the credit card, which was intended for small office items, for "extravagant and expensive" purchases of about $30,000.

Investigators also found she issued 16 company cheques, totalling $65,280, to herself and cashed them.

The suspect also used $187,522 of company funds to pay off her own personal credit card, police say.

"The fraudulent activity went unnoticed for an extended period of time, until the woman responded to a suspicious work email, sending a large sum of money to a supposed financial institution in China without first checking with company management," police said.

In the weeks after the email was sent, the company conducted its own investigation and discovered a series of frauds and thefts, notifying police in January 2016 – months after the employee was dismissed in September 2015.

Monika Manhas, 44, was arrested and charged with fraud and theft over $5,000 on Feb. 16.

She is expected in court on March 30.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact police by calling 403-266-1234. Tips can also be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers through any of the following methods:

 

TALK: 1-800-222-8477
TYPE: www.calgarycrimestoppers.org
APP: P3 Tips

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