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Gambling addict who stole $116,000 from Mission RCMP exhibits gets 18 months in jail

The Province,
BYLINE: Jennifer Saltman, The Province,
Link to Article

District of Mission, BC

FILE PHOTO: Former Mission RCMP exhibit custodian April Smith says she disgraced herself, her family and the officers and employees of the Mission RCMP when she stole $116,000 from police exhibits (silmilar to the one photographed) to support her gambling addiction.
Photograph by: Moose Jaw RCMP, Handout

A woman who stole $116,000 from police exhibits at Mission RCMP headquarters has been sentenced to 18 months in jail and two years of probation, and ordered to pay back the money she took.

April Smith, 46, pleaded guilty in July to a charge of breach of trust by a public officer. She was sentenced on Tuesday in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster.

Smith began stealing after she was hired by the District of Mission to be the exhibit custodian for the Mission RCMP in August 2008. She was suffering from a severe, persistent gambling disorder and when she needed money she took it from cash exhibits.

She targeted larger amounts of money that had been forfeited or found, and changed entries in the computer system to cover up the thefts. She hid the empty evidence bags and envelopes around the exhibits room.

An audit in January 2013 kicked off an investigation that lasted a year and involved more than 130 files. It was determined that 99 of those files had been compromised by Smith and 89 were missing money.

Smith was charged in February 2014 and immediately fired.

She later told police that she intended to pay the money back and didn’t see what she was doing as theft.

In addition to the money she took from work, Smith has estimated that she had also lost about $200,000 of her own money gambling over the years. She remortgaged her home and incurred substantial credit-card debt.

Crown had asked for a two-year prison sentence, while defence had argued for a conditional sentence of between 12 months and two years less a day.

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