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If not for the significant health and addiction issues at play during the time Crystal Charlebois-Miller defrauded her employer, she would be going to "real jail," Ontario Court Justice Andrew Buttazzoni said Thursday.
"It's a close call," he said, after noting jail terms are the usual penalties for cases of fraud against the public at large.
Charlebois-Miller, 52, bilked National Defence and Canadian Forces (DND/CF) of $192,000 between December 2004 and May 2008.
A former civilian employee at the Sault Armoury, she was a contracts and procurement officer for the department's Area Support Unit Northern Ontario.
Court heard that Charlebois-Miller, who pleaded guilty to fraud over $5,000 at an earlier court appearance, changed and falsified documents to divert increasing amounts of money into her bank account.
Buttazzoni described the offence as a "sophisticated fraud."
He cited the accused's addiction to drugs, alcohol and gambling and underling mental health issues among the special circumstances he considered in determining sentence.
"This offence was not primarily motivated by greed, (although) clearly greed was a factor," he said.
Since she was charged, Charlebois-Miller has been participating in treatment and counselling programs, court heard.
Buttazzoni said she has "dealt admirably with her addiction issues."
During a sentencing hearing in March, prosecutor Michael Varpio called for a jail sentence of 18 months to two years less a day.
Defence counsel Wayne Chorney pleaded for leniency, describing his client as suffering from a "cocktail of problems," including a severe gambling addiction, a prescription drug habit and alcohol issues, at the time of the offence.
Charlebois-Miller has lost a good job, her marriage and her reputation, he said.
A public service employee for 22 years, she has had approximately $99,000 from her pension clawed back by the government.
As well, Revenue Canada is pursuing her for about $30,000.
On Thursday, Buttazzoni ordered Charlebois-Miller to repay $92,082.
During the first 12 months of her conditional sentence, she can only leave her residence for medical appointments and emergencies, employment purposes, counselling, attending AA meetings and to perform community service hours.
She was also ordered to do 200 hours of community service during her sentence and another 50 hours after it ends.