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Sackville woman sentenced for $57,000 playschool theft, pharmacy fraud

FILE PHOTO - Marie Lysianne Steeves, 45, received a 12-month conditional sentence that includes four months of house arrest.
FILE PHOTO - Marie Lysianne Steeves, 45, received a 12-month conditional sentence that includes four months of house arrest. Callum Smith / Global News

A woman from Sackville, N.B., will serve a 12-month conditional sentence, including four months of house arrest, for theft and fraud.

Marie Lysianne Steeves, 45, was sentenced in Moncton provincial court Thursday for charges of theft over $5,000 dollars and fraud under $5,000, involving a nonprofit preschool and local pharmacy.

Judge Lucie Mathurin, in announcing the sentence, said:

“I debated for some time over this last night but considering all, I believe deterrence, denunciation as well as rehabilitation can be addressed in this fashion.”

Steeves pleaded guilty to stealing more than $57,000 from Sackville Playschool Inc., a nonprofit preschool, over an approximate seven-year period.

She also previously pleaded guilty to fraud involving A&M Lloyd’s Pharmacy.  She received a conditional six-month sentence on that charge, which will be served concurrently, meaning at the same time as the 12-month sentence.

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Restitution has been paid in full to both the pharmacy and playschool, according to the judge.

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Steeves will also be required to complete 100 hours of community service and have to follow several conditions, including notifying the court of change in name, address or employment.

The judge said sentencing factors included Steeves’ position of trust with those organizations, the amount stolen, early guilty pleas, remorse, health conditions, restitution and rehabilitation.

Steeves also had previous no criminal record.

“Ms. Steeves has expressed remorse for her actions and she’s ashamed of what she’s done,” Justice Mathurin said in court.

Allison Butcher, the director at Playschool Inc., says they didn’t want Steeves punished, but that they needed the money back and wanted to prevent a similar situation from happening to another organization.

“I trust that the judge has made the right decision and I hope her family is able to recover from this,” Butcher told reporters outside the courtroom.

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Aaron Lloyd, the owner of A&M Lloyd’s Pharmacy, said he was disappointed there was no jail time, but that he wasn’t surprised with the ruling.

He says while the dollar value of Steeves’ crime may not appear significant, it was difficult to find another qualified bookkeeper. They also had to conduct an investigation at the same time.

“Last June, when this happened, there was months and months and months of worries, sleepless nights trying to figure out what we’re doing,” Lloyd said.

He says the crime has caused a lot of turmoil for his business, and said there are now trust issues in the town as a result of the incident.

“The trust factor was gone,” Lloyd said. “I was probably the meanest boss in the world for the longest time to the rest of my staff because it’s hard to trust everyone, so you have to build it all back up.”