Calgary

Woman charged after $700,000 embezzled from charitable foundation, parent company

A former Calgary woman faces several criminal charges after more than $700,000 was embezzled from her former employer, a foundation that supports local charities and its parent company.

Former Calgarian Nicole Mann accused of stealing from Colliers Cares Foundation, Colliers International

Nicole Mann, 35, is accused of writing more than $500,000 in cheques from the Colliers Cares Foundation to herself, among other things. (David Bell/CBC)

A former Calgary woman faces several criminal charges after more than $700,000 was embezzled from her former employer, a foundation that supports local charities and its parent company.

Following a 10-month investigation, police arrested Nicole Mann on Dec. 15 and charged her with one count of fraud over $5,000, one count of theft over $5,000 and one count of laundering the proceeds of crime.

Mann, 35, was operations manager of the Colliers Cares Foundation, established to support local charities by the Calgary office of Colliers International, a commercial real estate services organization.

Police allege Mann wrote more than 90 fraudulent cheques from the foundation's account to herself and to the Canadian Progress Club, Calgary Mount Royal, where she was the treasurer and president.

"We were surprised and deeply disappointed when we discovered that an offence may have been committed. This incident does not reflect who we are, the values we hold or the intent of the foundation," Pamela Smith, communications manager for Colliers International, said in a statement. 

"We conducted an internal audit and forensic investigation early in 2018 and discovered evidence that fraud had occurred. We then promptly notified police. We also reviewed our accounts and the foundation's accounting procedures to ensure the situation was contained."

The total losses from the foundation's account are more than $560,000.

Police allege another $147,000 was taken from the Colliers corporate account in an effort to cover up the alleged fraud. 

According to police, the money taken from the foundation was used to buy homes in Calgary and two properties in B.C., as well as to purchase a vehicle.

"We were not aware of the connection to the Colliers case until advised by CPS," said Megan Banning, president of CPC Calgary Mount Royal in a statement. 

"We are conducting an internal review to determine the full extent of any irregularities that occurred while the accused was in a position of financial control and will continue supporting CPS as they require. Although we are shocked at this event, our volunteer members are steadfast in our resolve to continue to support organizations that greatly benefit our community.

Mann will be in court in January to face her charges.

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