Edmonton gambling addict jailed for 10 months

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EDMONTON — A gambling-addicted fraudster who stole from her former employer, her roommate and three job-seeking Filipinos was sentenced to 10 months in jail on Wednesday.

Jonalyn Gandeza, 30, was also ordered to pay just over $40,000 in restitution to her victims.

Gandeza earlier pleaded guilty in provincial court to two counts of fraud over $5,000, six counts of theft under $5,000 and one count of impersonation.

Judge Shelagh Creagh ruled the number of victims and the amount stolen was aggravating as was the common theme of breach of trust and opportunity.

“Economic crimes of this nature can be just as devastating for some victims as crimes of violence,” said Creagh.

Court heard Gandeza stole $6,000 from her roommate’s bank account in six separate online transactions in 2011.

As well, she scammed $26,431 by illegally collecting fees after falsely promising she could secure jobs in Canada for three people from the Philippines and delivering bogus documents purporting to be offers of employment.

Gandeza also paid for condo renovations using a $7,678 cheque she signed with someone else’s name which she had taken from her employer when she left the company.

Court heard none of the stolen funds have been repaid, although Gandeza says she intends to.

Defence lawyer Justin Sidhu earlier told court Gandeza gave a full confession, co-operated with police and is willing to take counselling for her gambling addiction.

Gandeza is also facing charges under the Fair Trading Act and the Employment Agency Business Licensing Regulation regarding the work visa scam.

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