Now, Krista Dawn Woods has lost her job of almost 15 years, after admitting to stealing from her employer — Summerside’s Consolidated Credit Union.
The 38-year-old Miscouche woman was sentenced in provincial court Tuesday for what Judge Jeff Lantz called a “serious” breach of trust.
“This is an individual that is perhaps old enough to know better,” said Judge Jeff Lantz in sentencing Woods to conditional sentence of six months house arrest.
“It is somewhat more serious of a breach when someone in a financial institution acts in this manner.”
Woods had earlier pleaded guilty to the single count of theft under $5,000 and the case adjourned so a presentence report could be prepared.
Crown attorney David O’Brien detailed the facts of the case, which led to Woods’ arrest last October.
It was in June 22, 2012, that Michael Gaudet, owner of AOK Fast Cash — an ATM provider — went to Summerside city police alleging money had been stolen from his business, thefts he believed were occurring from the Consolidated Credit Union.
Between February and October 2012, bundles of large amounts of cash Gaudet or one of his employees picked up from the credit union had money missing, with individual bundle comprising large withdrawals upwards to $45,000 often each missing a $20 bill.
After encountering the shortfall on several occasions, Gaudet contacted the credit union to advise the manager what he had discovered and, on several occasions, took the bundles, which were often unopened, to Summerside police to be counted.
In October, Consolidated Credit Union installed a security camera, which captured Woods — who would prepare the withdrawals — take money. She was arrested at the financial institution.
Initially, Woods denied knowing anything about the missing money, telling police Gaudet would contact her via email and that she would prepare the cash withdrawals, putting the money through the counter, which she said “just fair”, alleging bills often stuck together.
Woods finally admitted to taking $80 in the summer, money she said she used to purchase items for her two children, and another $100 on a second occasion.
In total, police were able to prove that $720 had been stolen.
Woods’ presentence report pointed to mental health issues that surfaced two years ago but went untreated. She was admitted for psychiatric treatment after her arrest and has since been diagnosed with depression, anxiety and complicated grief stemming from her mother’s sudden death in 1997.
O’Brien said Woods, who worked her way up at the credit union since her hire in 1998, “abused her position of trust and authority” and recommended jail time.
Woods’ lawyer, Mitchell MacLeod, said Woods had been suffering from mental health issues when she took the money and has since sought help.
He added Woods took an “extreme risk” for “what is a paltry reward.”
“That is a clear indication Ms. Woods is not psychologically, spiritually, mentally well,” said Woods, noting she “is terrified by the thought of jail” and could immediately pay back the $720 stolen.
Woods will be under house arrest for six months. She was ordered to write a letter of apology to the Gaudets, pay $720 restitution, and, once her house arrest is served, will be on probation for 18 months, during which time she must undergo assessment, counselling and treatment for any mental health issues.