Jacqueline Joan Feltham sentenced in provincial court today

Rosie Mullaley
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A St. John’s woman who swindled more $250,000 from three not-for-profit organizations has been sent to jail.

Jacqueline Joan Feltham — File photo by Rosie Gillingham/The Telegram

Jacqueline Joan Feltham was sentenced to two years less a day in provincial court this morning.

Once her term has been served, she will be on two years’ probation.

As part of the sentence, Judge David Orr ordered a restitution order, which means Feltham must repay the money she defrauded from the organizations.

However, because she’s declared bankruptcy, that money is tied up with creditors.

Representatives from the organizations — Brighter Futures, the Natural History Society of Newfoundland and Labrador and Friends of the Garden — were in court to see Feltham led out in handcuffs.

Outside court, they expressed relief that the process is finally over and said they were determined to recover from the damage Feltham has caused them.

Feltham, 53, pleaded guilty to charges of theft over $5,000 from the Natural History Society of Newfoundland and Labrador; fraud over $5,000 from Brighter Futures; and fraud over $5,000 and breach of trust in relation to Friends of the Garden.

From 2003 to 2008, Feltham was Brighter Future’s sole auditor and financial adviser, providing bookkeeping, accounting, auditing and consulting services. Between November 2005 and September 2008, she forged 231 cheques.

During much of that time, Feltham was also treasurer of the Natural History Society — which promotes the enjoyment and protection of wildlife and natural history resources — and Friends of the Garden, a volunteer charity that supports Memorial University’s Botanical Garden.

“She was in a position of trust, hired in a professional capacity,” Judge David Orr said.

She misappropriated tens of thousands of dollars from both groups’ bank accounts without members’ knowledge.

In total, she defrauded Brighter Futures of $214,632.68, the Natural History Society of $14,927.14, and Friends of the Garden of $33,187.70.

“The frauds were extensive,” the judge said.

Feltham — an accountant who operated an accounting firm in Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s — was suspended by the Certified General Accountants of Newfoundland and Labrador after she was charged.

During her sentencing hearing a few weeks ago, defence lawyer Erin Breen suggested the judge consider a two-year conditional sentence, meaning Feltham would serve her sentence at home.

But Crown prosecutor Ruth Wakeham recommended a three-year sentence.

In deciding on two years less a day, Orr compared what Feltham did to the crimes of the MHAs who were convicted as a result of the provincial government constituency spending scandal.

“She was in a position of trust, hired in a professional capacity,” Orr said, “and she used it to carry our her fraudulent activity…

“She was supposed to be making every effort to help her clients.”


Organizations: Natural History Society of Newfoundland and Labrador, Certified General Accountants

Geographic location: Portugal Cove, Newfoundland and Labrador

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Recent comments

  • Allison Greene
    July 31, 2010 - 22:10

    Hmmmm..... Wonder where she learned all that? Our politicians and our political system seem to determine justice. Not our justice system, that's for sure! It is too bad that politicians have a different justice system than the rest of us. See.... in any other country, this disparity would be called corruption. But we are in Canada. There is NO CORRUPTION. We seem to accept that politicians do what they do as a matter of course, and the rest of us need redemption. Congratulation to Judge David Orr who refused to make a distinction between being in a position of public trust and being in a position of public trust. Now. If only she had done something really serious....like being elected.

  • Paul Samson
    July 28, 2010 - 22:15

    Former cabinet minister embroiled in spending scandal free after serving 4 1/2 months of two-year jail term I'll bet she serves "a tad longer" than that!!

  • Ruby
    July 28, 2010 - 14:14

    It is very sad when people think they have to do these things to get through life. Yes it is awful that she did this and it is no joking matter, but the Justice System is where the joke is. I am amazed at how many different rules and punishments there are for so many people who commit the same crimes. Yes this lady stole $250.000 and was sentenced to 2 years minus a day but some other person can fraud clients out of $500.000 and not spend one in Jail.

    • joan scott
      July 28, 2010 - 16:44

      Are Ms Feltham and the MHAs convicted in the constituency spending scandal eligible to stand for election to a public office in future? J

  • Whaddaya At ?
    July 28, 2010 - 13:40

    LMAO at some of these defence lawyers. The woman stole $250,000 and her lawyer suggested to the judge, with a straight face, no doubt, that her client should receive a conditional sentence, to be served at home. Har de har har har. It's a wonder the lawyer didn't ask the judge to acquit her client because she declared bankruptcy. Where the heck did the $250,000 go ?

  • Frank M
    July 28, 2010 - 12:09

    I wonder if she will get day parole and then get out with an electronic bracelet as quickly as Wally Anderson. God's chosen people must be politicians; a sad commentary about our justice system.

  • Angelica
    July 28, 2010 - 11:43

    Yea, you can be sure she will 'do' more time than any that were involved in the 'spending scandal'.

  • doug
    July 28, 2010 - 10:52

    I bet she will spend more time in prison than the government officials did!, too bad, she should have gotten Simmons to defend her, she would have gotten half the sentence.

    July 28, 2010 - 10:45

    How terrible for someone to do this to so many people.. She should hang her head in shame.. At least everyone knows what a PIG really is..