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Court Briefs
House arrest for $60,000 fraud
Woman ordered to pay back money bilked from Ulukhaktok hunters and trappers committee

John McFadden
Northern News Services
Published Monday, November 17, 2014

A former Ulukhaktok woman has been sentenced to two years less a day of house arrest after she was convicted of defrauding the community's Olokhaktomiut Hunters and Trappers Committee of more than $60,000.

Lilian Kanayok, 41, who now lives in Yellowknife, was also ordered to repay the committee $57,399.

Kanayok was sentenced by Judge Shannon Smallwood in Supreme Court in Yellowknife on Nov. 5.

Court heard that Kanayok had been the resource person for the committee, handling all financial transactions from 2006 to 2013 when she was dismissed after the charge was laid. Kanayok took one year off for maternity leave beginning in 2009.

The committee ordered a forensic audit of its books in July of 2013 after financial irregularities were noticed.

Kanyok pleaded guilty to the charge of fraud over $5,000.

Crown prosecutor Wendy Miller said Kanayok used a variety of methods to obtain the money over a 15-month span between 2012 and 2013. That included issuing herself duplicate paycheques - meaning she was paid twice - and transferring money from the committee's bank account into her own.

Kanayok's lawyer Mike Martin said Kanayok took the money to feed her online gambling addiction.

She had received a $120,000 financial settlement as a residential school survivor.

Martin said a Truth and Reconciliation hearing brought up painful memories for her, including a sexual assault in Inuvik.

She attended residential schools in both Inuvik and Yellowknife.

Kanayok has paid back $3,000 to the committee so far, said Martin.

"She feels ashamed over her actions and she had had a difficult time talking about it," Martin said.

In handing down her sentence, Smallwood pointed out that the amount Kanayok took from the hunters and trappers committee will negatively impact hunters, trappers and fishers in the hamlet.

The committee receives about $176,000 per year in government funding.

"So to lose $60,000 in funding was not only a blow to the committee, but the entire community," Smallwood said.

While she is under house arrest, Kanayok will only be able to leave her home for certain activities, such

as work, school or counselling services. The mother of three will be allowed to be outside her home for three hours a week to spend recreation time with her children.

She can also be out of the home to take her five year old to and from school.

A spokesperson for the hunters and trappers committee could not be reached for comment by press time.

Behchoko man sentenced for domestic assaults

A 26-year-old Behchoko man has been sentenced to 14-and-a-half months in jail for a violent domestic assault in the community last summer. News/North has chosen not to name the man in order to protect the identity of the victim.

He was in custody but allowed to sit beside his legal aid lawyer Jay Bran while being sentenced by Judge Bernadette Schmaltz in territorial court in Yellowknife on Nov. 7.

The man was convicted of assault causing bodily harm, unlawful confinement, threatening and breaching his probation.

Court heard that a relationship between the offender and the victim had ended three to four weeks before the man saw the woman on the street and began a vicious assault.

He pushed her to the ground, pulled her hair, and dragged her to a residence where he wouldn't let her leave.

He threatened to punch her in the stomach. She was pregnant with his child at the time.

The woman waited in the home until the man fell asleep before fleeing and calling police. She suffered bruises and scrapes and had swollen lips and cheeks.

In handing down her sentence, Schmaltz acknowledged the man had witnessed violence growing up,

watching as his father assaulted his mother.

She also pointed out that he had seven prior criminal convictions, at least three involving violence against women.

He had been sentenced to 16 months in jail in 2011 and 10 months in 2013 for assaults against women.

Schmaltz told the man he must get over thinking of women as possessions and that he needs to take responsibility for his actions. She said failure to do so would mean he can expect to serve longer jail sentences if convicted of similar offences in the future.

Schmaltz also told the man that if his behaviour doesn't change, he is on his way to being declared a dangerous offender.

She gave him five and a half months credit for the 117 days he'd spent in pre-trial custody.

She sentenced him to two years probation following his jail sentence. Schmaltz also ordered him to supply a sample of his DNA and have no contact with the victim.

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