ST. JOHN’S, NL — A thieving employee nearly bankrupted the Conception Bay South convenience store where she worked, a St. John’s court heard Thursday, Nov. 18.
Provincial Court Judge Mike Madden read aloud parts of a victim impact statement from Brittany Petten’s former employer before sentencing her for defrauding the Stop and Save store of nearly $10,500 over seven months in 2018 and 2019.
“My wife and I watched the bank account shrink weekly and monthly. What were we doing wrong? Were we going to lose our business that we had worked so hard for over the years?” writes the entrepreneur.
The financial statements showed a significant decline in profits, when the small business had always done well before, he said.
He called police in July 2019 after noticing a discrepancy between outgoing inventory and incoming cash, and checked his surveillance footage to see Petten canceling customer sales and pocketing the cash.
When he confronted Petten, she admitted taking the money. She later pleaded guilty to a single charge of fraud over $5,000.
“My wife and I watched the bank account shrink weekly and monthly. What were we doing wrong? Were we going to lose our business that we had worked so hard for over the years?” – Store owner
Petten, 24, has no criminal record. Reading from a pre-sentence report compiled by a probation officer, the judge said Petten described a traumatic childhood during which she witnessed domestic violence and substance abuse, and left her family home as a teenager and lived with long-term abuse. boyfriend. Her ex-boyfriend had pressured her into stealing Stop and Save to support her addictions, she said.
“She acknowledged what she did was wrong and said she knew she was being filmed and would eventually be caught,” Madden said, reading the report.
During her sentencing hearing in July, Petten told the court that she wanted to take responsibility for her actions and was changing her life, with a new partner and stepchildren whom she was supporting with a new supervisory job in a fast food restaurant.
Prosecutor Jill Quilty had submitted a 90-day jail sentence, to be served over the weekend, along with probation and an order to return stolen money was a fit sentence for Petten and would hold her accountable for her crime while allowing him to continue working. Madden said the suggested sentence was at the lower end of the range of acceptable sentences for the crime, particularly given the impact on Petten’s former employer and the breach of trust involved in the crime, as well as of the extended duration involved. However, he accepted it, rejecting defense attorney Robert Regular’s submission of a 45-day intermittent sentence and probation with a restitution order.
Madden ordered Petten to reimburse his former employer a total of $1,972.49, the portion of the loss not covered by his insurance company. Madden made no restitution order for the insurance company.
Regular told the court that Petten now runs a residence for people with mental health and addictions issues, and asked if his intermittent jail sentence could be changed to allow him to continue working every other weekend.
Madden postponed Petten’s formal sentencing until December 15 to give the attorney time to check the possibility, indicating that Petten would otherwise have to serve his sentence every weekend or for 90 consecutive days.