Sentencing of Bridgetown employee postponed

The sentencing of a former accounts clerk for the Town of Bridgetown charged with fraud has been postponed until July 24.
Melissa Young is scheduled to be sentenced July 24 for fraud. (CBC)

The sentencing of a former accounts clerk for the Town of Bridgetown charged with fraud has been postponed until July 24.

Melissa Young, 50, pleaded guilty in March to fraud over $5,000.

The Crown withdrew a charge of theft over $5,000 in March.

Young wiped her tears as she sat in court in Annapolis Royal Wednesday.

She had written what she would say to the judge before being sentenced for fraud, but wasn't able to speak once the judge asked if she had anything to say.

Nova Scotia's minister of municipal relations ordered an audit in May 2011 after the town's books revealed  a confusing trail of tax and water bills. Some residents received bills even though they had already paid them.

The charge followed a six-month police investigation and a forensic audit by firm Grant Thornton. It found $113,195 had been taken from the town's accounts, but $33,676 was later put back in the town's bank account.

The entire council and mayor of Bridgetown resigned over the town's ongoing financial problems two weeks after the audit was ordered.

Judge Warren Zimmer read prepared briefs from Young's lawyer and the Crown. The Crown asked that Young be sentenced to one to two years incarceration, probation and full payment of the funds she took.

Chris Manning, Young's defence lawyer, asked for a conditional sentence, and said his client wants to pay back the outsanding $76,000.

Manning added that Young told him: "My biggest personal goal is to right my wrong."

Young brought a cheque in trust to her lawyer Wednesday to turn over to the town of Bridgetown.

Zimmer told the court he wants to consider all evidence and the lawyers arguments before rendering his sentence.