Former Conception Harbour town clerk gets house arrest for theft, fraud

The former clerk of Conception Harbour has been convicted of stealing $6,500 of taxpayer money.  (Curtis Hicks/CBC - image credit)
The former clerk of Conception Harbour has been convicted of stealing $6,500 of taxpayer money. (Curtis Hicks/CBC - image credit)

The former town clerk of Conception Harbour will spend the next year on house arrest and two more years on probation, after pleading guilty to single charges of theft and fraud on Friday morning.

Bonnie Lynn Wade has admitted to stealing more than $6,000 of taxpayer money from the town in 2021. Her husband had left her at the time, she told the court, and she was stuck paying a mortgage and child-care expenses alone.

She told Judge James Walsh that it wasn't like her to steal, and that she would never do it again.

"I did have intentions of paying it back," she said. "My whole life fell apart."

Wade used the town's credit card on 10 occasions, and stole tax money from residents who paid in cash on 20 occasions.

She was confronted by then mayor Craig Williams about missing money. Wade immediately fessed up and was fired.

The matter was turned over to the RCMP, and Wade confessed once again, resulting in 30 charges of fraud and theft. She was also charged with breaching public trust, for using her position to steal money from the town.

All 31 charges were whittled down to two on Friday morning, combining all the frauds into one charge and all the thefts into another. The breach of trust charge was dropped.

Crown prosecutor Mark James asked the judge for a restitution order to the tune of $6,524.18, but Walsh wasn't prepared to do that.

"It's not likely to get paid," he told the young prosecutor.

Instead, Walsh made repayment of the money a condition of Wade's sentence, meaning if she does not pay it back by the end of her probation period, she could go to jail.

Wade said she's working as an office administrator, and admitted she hasn't told her new boss about her charges. She said she's in a better place now, and promised to repay the money on time.

She is allowed to leave her home if she's going to work, appointments, classes, church or doing community service. She's also allowed out one hour per day for exercise, and one four-hour period each week for shopping and banking.

Wade will have three years to pay back the money.

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