TRURO, N.S. – Southern vacations, shopping trips and alcohol purchases accounted for some of the money.
Ultimately, however, a Stewiacke woman told her sentencing judge that she could not fully justify what happened to the nearly $200,000 she defrauded from her employer.
“Of course, the big elephant in the room is where did the money go?” Judge Al Bégin said, during the sentencing of Brandy White. “You don’t have to tell me where it went, that’s your choice.”
White, 42, of Asquith Avenue, pled guilty last September to defrauding the Holiday Inn in Truro of $198.999.47 between 2008 and 2016 while working as the hotel’s financial controller.
Bégin qualified the “tax-free” amount as being “at least” that much because the actual figure could not be fully tracked.
“Honestly, I don’t know where it all went,” White told the court. “I shopped, I drank, I went out … I went on trips (south).”
Crown Attorney Rick Hartlen suggested during his sentencing submission that there was also a possibility that some of the money went towards renovations to her home.
“I regret what I did. I’m not proud of what I did,” White said, adding she also “feels terrible” for her former supervisor who lost her job after the crimes were discovered.
“But I’m ready to move on, so whatever consequence, I’m ready to deal with it,” she said.
Bégin said White’s motivations for the hundreds of fraudulent transactions that occurred over eight years amounted to nothing less than “greed” and that she did not stop until she was caught.
And despite a request from defence lawyer Alex McKillop that White be sentenced to house arrest, Bégin opted for a two-year federal prison term, in part because of the number of similar offences that have occurred in the area in recent years.
“These were all high-profile cases in this community that should have sent a message to her that, ‘oh my God, I’m in big trouble if I get caught. I should stop.’ And she doesn’t stop, she keeps going.”
White, who has two children aged five and 10, was receiving an annual salary of $50,000 while conducting her fraudulent transactions, Bégin said.
“This was clearly a position of trust,” he said. “I’ve read the pre-sentence report. The only remorse I see is feeling sorry for herself and the predicament she is in. I do not see or read any empathy for what she did to the Holiday Inn … (or for her supervisor who lost her job).”
Bégin said he also wanted to receive the names of the five companies that White has recently been working for so they can be apprised of her actions.
“Ms. White should not have put these companies in this position, she should have known better,” he said.
White was also ordered to pay full restitution of the stolen money to the Holiday Inn, which Bégin said could take any action it deemed necessary to recoup the funds.
White’s pre-sentence report did not disclose any issues of alcoholism or gambling addictions.
As for what actually happened to the money, the judge told White he did not believe that it was all spent as had been suggested.
“That’s an awful lot of alcohol,” he said.