Former AMA executive sentenced to 5 years for defrauding company of $8M

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Former AMA executive sentenced for defrauding company of $8M
WATCH ABOVE: The man who defrauded the Alberta Motor Association out of $8 million has been sent to prison for five years. Fletcher Kent reports – Feb 26, 2018

A fraud that lasted more than three years has sent Jim Gladden to prison for the next five years.

In January, Gladden pleaded guilty to fraud. On Monday, Judge Larry Anderson sentenced him.

In the decision, Anderson said, “The message that goes out has to be: it’s not worth the risk to engage in this kind of conduct.”

Gladden had been the Alberta Motor Association’s vice president of Information Technology.

From January 2013 until his actions were discovered in June of 2016, Gladden defrauded the AMA of nearly $8 million.

READ MORE: Former Alberta Motor Association executive charged with fraud

An agreed statement of facts indicated Gladden submitted and approved 55 fraudulent invoices to the AMA.

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In 34 of the 55 invoices, Gladden directed the AMA to make payments to bank accounts operated by him but under different names.

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At the time, AMA paid out invoices when they were signed by just one employee with sufficient authority.

Gladden used the money to purchase, among other things, homes in Edmonton and Scottsdale, Arizona, a Sea-Doo, an ATV and a trailer.

AMA has recovered about $3 million of the $8 million identified in these criminal proceedings.

In his sentencing hearing, Gladden had argued he suffered from a major depressive disorder and anxiety. A doctor had diagnosed him with the conditions.

His lawyer said Gladden’s mental conditions led to the fraudulent activity and the courts should consider this a mitigating factor.

“It wasn’t someone who was simply doing it out of greed,” said Gladden’s lawyer, Brian Beresh.

“I think someone who is not involved in a depressive state might look at it and say, ‘Whoa. What am I doing?’ But this just escalated and I think there was a connection.”

Beresh had asked for a three-year sentence.

Judge Anderson disagreed with the defence arguments.

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“Many people suffer from depression that does not necessarily translate to criminality.

“I have no basis to conclude depression… caused the fraudulent taking of money,” Anderson said.

The Crown was requesting a five-year sentence and the judge agreed that was appropriate.

Beresh said he will look more closely at the decision and then decide if he plans to appeal.

READ MORE: $10M judgment awarded to Alberta Motor Association against former exec.

After the sentencing, the AMA issued a statement.

“We’re pleased to learn [Gladden] pleaded guilty and was sentenced appropriately. In light of this case, AMA reviewed its processes and put additional controls in place.”

Before the criminal case began, AMA had launched a lawsuit against Gladden. The court ordered Gladden to pay the AMA $10.2 million.

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