Alberni bookkeeper convicted of bilking autoparts store

An Alberni auto supply dealer is recovering after $12,000 was misappropriated by its former bookkeeper.

A local auto supply dealer is recovering after $12,000 was misappropriated by its former bookkeeper.

M&D Autoparts has been in business in Port Alberni for years and is owned by five shareholders.

In 2009, shareholder Darren Rai suspected that the company’s bookkeeper wasn’t handling the business’s money properly.

The bookkeeper was responsible for all banking and counting out money after daily sales.

Specifically, Rai noticed a discrepancy in the over/shorts account. “A till is almost never perfect and there is either too much or too little,” shareholder Elaine Mani said. “The amount is placed in the over/short account and we were coming up short on the short side.”

Rai began counting the cash before the bookkeeper could get to it and noticed a discrepancy between the amount he counted and the amount the bookkeeper deposited.

Rai brought his concerns to the other shareholders. Further proof arose in the business’s year-end statements. “The adjustments in the over/shorts just weren’t right,” Mani said.

The discrepancies dated back to 2008.

The bookkeeper was confronted and dismissed. The police were contacted and in 2010 charges recommended.

Officials from the Crown prosecutors’ office at Port Alberni provincial court confirmed that Rose Szepat was convicted of one count of theft over $5,000 and was ordered to repay $9,000 to M&D Autoparts.

“Getting the money back wasn’t enough, there had to be a consequence for this and there was,” Mani said. “We want to do our part to make sure she can’t do this again.”

There was more than money taken from the business, he said. The shareholders’ sense of trust was violated, something that’s hard to get past.

The incident occurred during the recession.

There were times when the shareholders forwent being paid or held off giving raises and all the while ensuring that Szepat got paid, Mani said.

“She was in a position of trust and we didn’t think we had to worry about her,” Mani said.

“It felt like we all took a big kick.”

reporter@albernivalleynews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

True crime podcaster on mid Island inspired by case of missing Island woman

‘Island Crime’ Season 1 covers 2002 disappearance of 21-year-old Lisa Marie Young

Alberni Valley Community Foundation releases second round of emergency funding

The Alberni Valley Community Foundation will provide $75,000 to support local charities… Continue reading

Port Alberni’s Cruise for Care returns for encore

Car enthusiasts will honour frontline workers Friday, May 29 on route through city

Accident, downed power lines closes Highway 4 west of Port Alberni

Detour is available near Hector Road as BC Hydro crews work to restore power

Huu-ay-aht First Nations qualify for national wage subsidy

Limited partnership structure caused concern when CEWS was first introduced

B.C. records no new COVID-19 deaths for the first time in weeks

Good news comes despite 11 new test-positive cases in B.C. in the past 24 hours

An ongoing updated list of Alberni Valley events affected by COVID-19

Has your event been cancelled or postponed? Check here

Tahsis opens its gates to visitors to save local economy

Seasonal local businesses that rely on tourism hope to survive despite drop in tourist numbers

BC Corrections to expand list of eligible offenders for early release during pandemic

Non-violent offenders are being considered for early release through risk assessment process

Fraser Valley driver featured on ‘Highway Thru Hell’ TV show dies

Monkhouse died Sunday night of a heartattack, Jamie Davis towing confirmed

Study looks at feasibility of Vancouver Island abattoir

South Island Prosperity Partnership funds study looking at local meat processing

Island city cancels plan for homeless camp; exploring alternative option

The plan heard strong objection from neighbouring residents and businesses

B.C. visitor centres get help with COVID-19 prevention measures

Destination B.C. gearing up for local, in-province tourism

Most Read