$1.8 million allegedly stolen

The former bookkeeper of a Kelowna organization who's accused of stealing $1.8 million has lobbed back accusations at her former employer.

Last November, Access Human Resources Inc. filed a civil suit against Carey Earl and her bookkeeping company, CE Business Services, alleging she misappropriated more than $1 million between 2005 and 2018. In a recent amendment to the claim, Access Resources says a “systematic review” of the transaction journals has found that Earl actually misappropriated more than $1.8 million through fraudulent electronic transfers to her and her family members' accounts.

In a response to the suit, filed in Kelowna court on Feb. 28, Earl denies she stole, misappropriated or embezzled any money, but adds that if she did, which she denies, then Access Resources director Cliff Andrusko knew about it.

“If the defendants stole, misappropriated, or embezzled funds from the plaintiff, which is not admitted and expressly denied, it was commonly understood between the defendants and Cliff Andrusko that company funds would be used for their personal benefit, including Cliff Andrusko's personal benefit,” Earl's response states.

She says that both she and Andrusko would have been required to sign off on any transaction from corporate funds.

“Cliff Andrusko had intimate knowledge of funds being paid out and was required to approve such payments,” she claims.

Andrusko denies Earl's allegations against him.

In a filed reply, Access Resources says Andrusko never condoned any misappropriation of funds and never engaged in any fraudulent activity himself. The filed reply denies Andrusko was needed to authorize transactions and payments and says Earl had “unfettered access” to the payment system.

“I try and stand in someone else's shoes and it just seems like maybe the best defence is a strong offence, I don't know,” Andrusko said of the allegations laid against him.

Access Resources' amended civil suit claims Earl attempted to delete her and her family members' bank accounts in September 2018, in an attempt to conceal the alleged misappropriation.

Earl allegedly used the stolen money to help pay for several vehicles for her family members, as well as helping pay for her daughter's wedding.

Andrusko says the RCMP are currently investigating the allegations, but no criminal charges have been laid at this time. A court date has not been set for the civil matter, and none of the charges has been tested in court.

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