Woman who stole $250,000 from employer gets 5 years
Owner of defrauded Parksville construction company says his life has been ruined
A Vancouver Island woman has been sentenced to five years in prison for stealing more than a quarter of a million dollars from her employer over the course of 10 years.
Corrina Dawne Dreger, 46, of Parksville, has also been ordered to repay the funds.
Dreger was the bookkeeper for Collins Custom Contracting, a Parksville construction company. She started off slowly, stealing just enough to pay her utility bills.
But by 2009, she was transferring $80,000 to $100,000 dollars from company funds into her personal credit card account each year. She was charged with fraud over $5,000 in Oct. 2012, and found guilty last week.
John Collins, the owner of the company she worked for, says the ordeal has been devastating, both financially and emotionally.
"I'm a broken man," he said. "For me, it was a trust factor and that's affected me big-time."
Collins says although his business has survived, the ordeal ended his marriage and according to doctors, the stress likely contributed to his cancer.
"It affected my employees. It affected bonuses and added a lot of stress in my life because I didn't think I was making any money," he said.
"[It] also affected my marriage because I trusted my bookkeeper more than I trusted my wife. My bookkeeper would be saying my wife is spending the money, when in fact she wasn't. So my marriage was destroyed," he said.
Collins was then diagnosed with cancer.
"The doctors put it down to stress," he said.
Collins believes Dreger would have been caught sooner, but the professional accounting firm he hired employed Dreger's brother to review his books.
"The accountant should have realized that was a big mistake — putting brother and sister together," he said.
Collins is suing the accounting firm Huggins & Co., but says the money won't heal the emotional scars.
With files from the CBC's Lisa Cordasco