Edmonton woman sentenced for defrauding insurance company she worked for of $1.3M

Edmonton woman sentenced for defrauding insurance company she worked for of $1.3M

A 47-year-old woman was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison on Thursday after she pleaded guilty to defrauding her employer, Intact Insurance, of $1.3 million.

The Crown had asked for a five-year sentence for O’onna Leung but the judge handed down the sentence Leung’s defence had asked for.

Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta Justice John Gill said the aggravating factors in the case were that there was “an abuse of a position of trust,” that the amount of money involved was “significant,” the lengthy duration of the criminal activity and the planning and deliberate nature of the crime.

Gill said mitigating factors in the case were that Leung pleaded guilty, that she apologized in court and to her husband and that she provided a full confession.

According to an agreed statement of facts, the fraudulent activity began in November 2006 and went on until January 2011.

The document shows Leung worked as an underwriter for the insurance company, which required her to use Intact’s internal computer system everyday to access Intact’s clients’ accounts and insurance policies.

“[Her job] gave her the authority to make adjustments to a limit of $5,000 on the accounts receivable of the policies she oversaw,” the document reads.

In 2010, an Intact employee received a call from an outside broker about a client’s Intact policy. The computer data showed a refund generated on the policy but when the broker was advised of the transaction, they told the Intact employee their client never received such a refund.

A further look at that policy showed its bank account information had been changed just prior to the refund being issued. A deeper probe of other such accounts showed several clients’ bank account numbers had been changed to the same account where the originally discovered refund was deposited.

An internal investigation revealed Leung “fraudulently manipulated the computer records of Intact to create 591 refunds” that were deposited into her own bank account, according to the agreed statement of facts.

The Crown said it is planning to look into having Leung pay restitution for her crime, although a court document indicates she has entered into a civil judgment for the loss.

In court on Thursday, it emerged Leung, a mother of two children, had used the funds she defrauded her employer of to finance a gambling habit. Court heard Leung has now refrained from gambling for eight years.

Court also heard Leung was a first-time offender. Her employment with Intact Insurance was terminated in February 2011.

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