Check and double-check


–Lauren M. Ruhland, 2008 MCPP intern
Note to self: When setting up a business in Canada, check background of any accountants encountered through state-subsidized employment programs.

Gwen Patrick did all the accounting for Falcon Compressors Inc., the company she owned with her husband Dennis, until a medical emergency left her in a coma.  After her recovery, the couple faced no choice but to hire out their books, and they turned to a government-subsidized employment agency for assistance.

Unfortunately for Falcon, the person referred to them a year ago was Kathleen Holyoak-Marion, 36. Operating for years under a number of aliases, Holyoak had a long criminal record for fraud-related activity.

The Windsor woman had been barred by a judge’s order at the time of her Falcon hiring from holding any job involving corporate bookkeeping or accounting, part of her bail terms of release pending the latest fraud charges she was facing.

Holyoak-Marion wrote herself 111 checks and has been ordered to pay the Patricks and their clients more than $100 thousand in restitution should she ever find legitimate income, in addition to her 12-month jail sentence.

As to why the Patricks hired her in the first place:

“I was stupid. I trusted this government program,” Patrick replied.

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