PEI

Former executive director of autism charity sentenced to jail, must return $27K

The former executive director of an Island autism charity was sentenced to three months in jail and ordered to pay back nearly $27,000 that she stole from the organization.

Tracy Ann Smith sentenced to 90 days in jail for forging cheques and stealing from the organization

Tracy Ann Smith was sentenced to 90 days in jail and ordered to pay back nearly $27,000 to the Stars for Life Foundation. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

The former executive director of an Island autism charity was sentenced to three months in jail and ordered to pay back nearly $27,000 that she stole from the organization. 

Tracy Ann Smith, 40, of Cornwall, P.E.I., pleaded guilty last December to fraud over $5,000 for forging cheques and stealing from the Stars for Life Foundation.

Chief Justice Tracey Clements handed down her sentence in P.E.I. Supreme Court in Charlottetown Wednesday. 

From January 2017 until the discovery of the fraud last spring, Smith wrote 22 cheques and used the charity's credit card to make cash advances and purchases which she kept for herself. The court heard Smith had taken steps to pay back the money before the crime was discovered.

During her trial Smith told the court alcohol and gambling addictions drove her to steal from her employer.

Smith currently has three part-time jobs, including work as a bookkeeper. Her new employers are aware of her fraud conviction, court heard.

Intermittent sentence

She will serve her 90-day jail sentence on an intermittent basis until the sentence has been fully served, so that she can continue to earn money to pay back the charity.

The judge ordered Smith to pay back $26,943 to the organization and to put the proceeds from the sale of a property she owns toward that restitution payment. 

Smith will also be on probation for three years, during which she is not allowed to communicate with staff from the Stars for Life Foundation. Clements also ordered Smith to serve 100 hours of community service. 

Smith has no prior criminal record.

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About the Author

Brittany Spencer is a multi-platform journalist with CBC P.E.I. Email: brittany.spencer@cbc.ca