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Woman gets jail for defrauding P.E.I. hockey school out of money meant to refund sponsored students

The former comptroller of Andrews Hockey Growth Programs was sentenced in P.E.I. court this week to serve 60 days in jail for defrauding the hockey school. - SaltWire file photo

A Charlottetown woman who defrauded a hockey training school of more than $9,000 was sentenced Tuesday to 60 days in jail.

Courtney Patricia Johnston, 34, appeared before Judge John Douglas in provincial court in Charlottetown for sentencing after previously entering a guilty plea. 

The court heard Johnston was the Andrews Hockey Growth Programs’ comptroller when she defrauded the company of $9,171.15 over 15 transactions in a span of four months.

Crown attorney Chad McQuaid told the court the hockey school allowed donors to sponsor students who had already paid their fees.

Those students would then be reimbursed the amount a sponsor contributed.

McQuaid said Johnston admitted to police she put money that was supposed to be refunded onto her credit card instead when she needed cash.

She has since paid back the money she took and the court heard she now has to repay family members.

McQuaid said the fraud came to light after the company that processed refunds for the school contacted another employee about two payments.

Johnston resigned several days after the school learned of the fraud.

“I’m just so sorry for what I did to them." 
-Courtney Patricia Johnston

The court heard Johnston deleted surveillance video and 256 files from a Google drive, although she said she didn’t intentionally delete all of the files, and she told her employer she shredded a sponsor list.

McQuaid said Johnston put the money on her credit card in transactions ranging from around $450 to more than $900.

The court heard Johnston struggled with credit card debt.

Defence lawyer Isaac Quinn told the court Johnston was the sole provider for her household and experienced financial difficulty while trying to buy Christmas presents.

Johnston has shown remorse and is unlikely to reoffend, Quinn said.

He also said Johnston suffered embarrassment and lost her job because of her actions.

Before hearing her sentence, Johnston addressed the court to say the hockey school’s owners were wonderful people.

“I’m just so sorry for what I did to them,” she said. 

Along with the jail time, which Johnston will serve on weekends, she will also be on probation for two years.

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