On Oct. 5, 2010, Diane Marie Larose, 45, walked into Calforex, a foreign exchange outlet, and asked for $25,000 U.S., $10,000 Canadian and $8,000 Euros. She handed a staffer a package including a federal agency application form and a promissory note with a DND header. It said she had full authority from Chief of Defence Staff Walter Natynczyk and Defence Minister Peter MacKay to order foreign currency of up to $2 million a month.
The gambit was "so unsophisticated," according to defence lawyer Meaghan Thomas, and Larose so desperate to have the money deposited in her personal account, that the manager was immediately suspicious. He confirmed with a contact at DND that that's not how the department does business.
Larose also billed $6,800 in car rentals to DND - which she has since repaid - from February to July 2010.
She pleaded guilty to fraud over $5,000 and using a forged document.
The foreign currency plot was "potentially a much more ambitious scheme to get cash advances which could have resulted in extremely significant losses," Judge Peter Wright said. Both episodes were also breaches of her employer's trust, he said.
The Crown sought nine months house arrest, the defence a conditional discharge.
Given the planning and calculation involved, the first-time offender would be looking at jail time if she hadn't made restitution and been diagnosed with depression, Wright said.
He imposed a suspended sentence, two years probation, 50 hours of community service and a five-year ban on working, even as a volunteer, with anyone else's money.
"The public should be protected," Wright said.