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UPDATE: Alleged Central Okanagan Hospice fraudster plans on pleading guilty

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Alleged Okanagan hospice fraudster to plead guilty – Jan 8, 2019

UPDATE:

One of two women charged in connection with money disappearing from a Kelowna non-profit organization plans on pleading guilty to the charges.

Melanie Gray is accused of stealing $69,000 between February 2013 and November 2015 by using the Central Okanagan Hospice Association’s (COHA) credit card.

She was the association’s office manager when the funds disappeared and has been charged with theft over $5,000 and fraud over $5,000.

Gray made a brief court appearance in Kelowna on Tuesday, where she told court she did not have a lawyer and requested to have the case moved to Kamloops, where she now resides.

Gray was accompanied by her uncle who told Global News outside the courthouse that Gray will be pleading guilty to the charges.

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Gray’s co-accused is Susan Steen — COHA’s former executive director.

She’s also charged with theft and fraud after allegedly stealing more than $109,000 from COHA between July 2012 and April 2016, allegedly using the hospice’s credit card.

Steen told Global News she suffers from a gambling problem.

Steen was facing additional charges in Nanaimo after allegedly stealing roughly $6,000 from the Nanaimo Community Hospice Society, where she was hired as executive director for six months after leaving Kelowna.

She pleaded guilty to the Nanaimo charge and was sentenced to four months in jail plus two years probation.

It’s not clear when the Kelowna charges against Steen will be dealt with.

ORIGINAL STORY:

One of two women charged with allegedly stealing money from a non-profit organization in Kelowna is scheduled to appear in court today.

A little more than a year ago, Global Okanagan was first to report that more than $180,000 had gone missing from the Central Okanagan Hospice Association’s coffers between 2015 and 2017. The RCMP launched an investigation into the missing funds, resulting in charges against the former executive director of COHA and the office manager.

READ MORE: Two Kelowna women charged with stealing $180K from Okanagan hospice

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According to court documents, on Sept. 12, 2012, former executive director Susan Steen allegedly defrauded COHA of $71 by making a false claim for a cellphone expense. Steen is also accused of stealing more than $109,000 from COHA between July 2012 and April 2016, allegedly using the hospice’s credit card.

Steen told Global News she suffers from a gambling problem.

Susan Steen told Global News that she has a gambling problem. Global News/Kelly Hayes

Steen was facing additional charges in Nanaimo after allegedly stealing roughly $6,000 from the Nanaimo Community Hospice Society, where she was hired as executive director for six months after leaving Kelowna.

She pleaded guilty to the Nanaimo charge and was sentenced to four months in jail plus two years probation.

COHA’s officer manager, Melanie Gray, is accused of stealing $69,000 between February 2013 and November 2015 by using the Central Okanagan Hospice’s credit card.

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She’s due back in Kelowna court this morning.

Steen was also told to be back in Kelowna court today, but her name is not on Tuesday’s court docket.

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