Ex N.S. spa worker who lied about cancer jailed for theft
A former Halifax spa worker who lied about having cancer has received a 10-month jail sentence for stealing money from her employer.
Sherri Dawn George, 38, who also goes by Sherri Lee, will also serve a probation term of 12 months.
Judge Anne Derrick also imposed a restitution order of $68,782.22.
George was convicted in May of one count of theft over $5,000 and two counts of fraud under $5,000.
George worked as an assistant manager at Embrace Spa from its opening in September 2005, until she quit in May 2009.
She began fudging accounts to get free spa services for herself and her family members, and finally misappropriated cheques from 2008 to 2009.
She eventually took more than $68,000 for herself.
The owners, Bonnie and Peter Caldarozzi, then hired a forensic accountant to audit their books.
George admitted in Halifax provincial court Tuesday that she lied about having cancer.
Spa employees said that George would come to work with bandages on, claiming she had just had chemotherapy treatments.
Crown attorney Mark Heerema questioned the cancer claim during George's trial, when a letter from George's doctor made no mention of cancer.
Heerema obtained records from the cancer registry, the hospital and the province's medical insurance program, but nothing backed George's claim.
On Thursday, emotions ran high in the courtroom. George's teenaged daughter burst into tears after hearing the sentence.
The Crown had asked for eight to 12 months in jail, plus a restitution order. The defence asked for house arrest and no restitution.
The judge said George's deceit about having cancer was another example of how she'll use dishonesty to try to get what she wants.
"What claiming to be a cancer survivor offered was the opportunity to be seen in a sympathetic light when she was on trial ... I find that like other deceits perpetrated by Ms. Lee, it was instrumental and intended to achieve a calculated objective," Derrick said.
The Caldarozzis said they are still recovering from the financial hit.
"There are no winners here," said Bonnie Caldarozzi.
"It's finally over. I still feel badly that she had to go to jail, especially for her child. But I think justice prevailed," Peter Caldarozzi said.