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Kelowna  

Theft charges at 2 hospices

UPDATE: 6:45 p.m.

The former executive director of the Central Okanagan Hospice Association has allegedly made a habit of stealing from dying people.

Susan Steen, 71, was in Kelowna court Tuesday, facing charges of theft and fraud over $5,000 for allegedly stealing more than $109,000 from the Central Okanagan Hospice Association. But this isn't her first time in a B.C. courtroom.

In November 2017, Steen was charged with theft and fraud for stealing money from the Nanaimo Community Hospice Society. Steen was hired as the executive director of the Nanaimo organization in December 2016 after serving six years as the executive director of the Kelowna charity.

Steen pleaded guilty to the Nanaimo-based charges last April, and she's scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 20.

The charges in the Nanaimo case occurred from Dec. 1, 2016, to June 13, 2017, which indicates she began stealing almost immediately after she was hired.

Steen appears to have taken a role as executive director at the Chilliwack Hospice Society for a brief period between her time in Kelowna and Nanaimo.

Prior to her roles with the Central Okanagan Hospice Association, the Chilliwack Hospice Society and the Nanaimo Community Hospice Society, Steen was the CEO of the Central and South Okanagan/Similkameen United Way and the president of the Rotary Club of Kelowna Okanagan Mission.

Steen and her co-accused in the Kelowna case, Melanie Gray, are scheduled to appear next in Kelowna on Jan. 8.


ORIGINAL: 10:50 p.m.

The former executive director and an office manager at the Central Okanagan Hospice Association appeared in Kelowna court Tuesday, facing charges of stealing a combined $179,000 from the charity.

Susan Steen and office manager Melanie Gray were charged last month with theft over $5,000 and fraud over $5,000 after the missing money was noticed in 2017 and announced to the charity's board members that June.

Steen is alleged to have stolen $109,878 from July 2012 to April 2016 through cash advances on the hospice association's credit card, while Gray is charged with stealing $69,043 through cash advances and purchases using the charity's credit card from February 2013 to November 2015.

Steen is also facing a fraud under $5,000 charge for making a false cellphone claim of $71.

On Tuesday, both women appeared in Kelowna court. Despite having more than a month since they were charged and released on bail, neither has retained a lawyer, and their case was adjourned to Jan. 8.

Gray told the court she would be securing a lawyer “as soon as I can come up with the retainer.”

The Central Okanagan Hospice Association, founded in 1981, offers free services to the dying or grieving.

Steen is also the former CEO of the Central and South Okanagan/Similkameen United Way and the former president of the Rotary Club of Kelowna Okanagan Mission.



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