Woman pleads guilty to stealing $420,000 from workplace

Patti Jane Ebanks, a former employee of Security Centre Ltd., pleaded guilty in Grand Court on Monday to stealing $420,281.24 from the business.

Ebanks, 50, first appeared in Summary Court in March 2014.

The theft occurred between April 1, 2010 and June 1, 2013.

Ebanks, 51, first appeared in Summary Court in March 2014. At that time, she faced 39 charges involving more than $935,000.

The case was transferred to Grand Court, and in August 2015 she pleaded not guilty to 24 counts. That indictment included charges of forgery, making documents without authority and transfer of criminal property in addition to various counts of theft.

On Monday, Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryll Richards asked the court’s permission to withdraw that indictment and replace it with a new indictment containing a single count of theft.

The clerk read the new charge aloud and Ebanks replied, “Guilty.”

Ms. Richards then advised that formal verdicts of “Not guilty” could be entered on the original indictment, on the basis that the Crown was not pursuing it.

She also explained that in calculating the specific sum stolen, the Crown went back through the hundreds of check requisitions that were part of the case and gave Ebanks the benefit of the doubt in cases where that was possible; where requisitions were absent so that the Crown could not say what the sum was for, the benefit of the doubt was also given.

Ms. Richards noted that defense attorney Laurence Aiolfi had presented a schedule of Ebanks’s legitimate income.

Mr. Aiolfi asked that the court order a social inquiry report and a psychiatric report before sentencing. He said his client had been struggling with alcoholism for a number of years.

Dame Linda Dobbs, acting judge of the Grand Court, said both reports were appropriate, but she wondered how long it would take to get them.

Told approximately 10 weeks because of the holidays, the judge indicated she would not be here. She suggested that the matter go before a resident judge – Justice Charles Quin, rather than an acting judge.

Ms. Richards did not give any background about the offense. Later she explained that the summary of facts is presented to the judge who passes sentence.

Justice Dobbs continued the defendant’s bail on the same conditions that were already in effect – surrender of passport and no travel outside of the jurisdiction without the court’s permission.

At a pre-trial conference, the judge had indicated that significant credit would be available for a guilty plea. Mr. Aiolfi asked about full credit, which typically means a one-third reduction in sentence.

The judge replied that significant meant nothing less than 25 percent, and it might be that full credit could be given.

Sentencing was set for Feb. 2, 2017.

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