A former finance director of the Abbotsford Police Department (APD) who was ordered in 2017 to pay back more than $300,000 that she was found to have embezzled over 10 years has now been criminally charged.
Shelley Dallas Mickens, 61, of Surrey turned herself in to police on Wednesday and is facing charges of breach of trust, fraud over $5,000 and theft over $5,000, according to the RCMP’s federal serious and organized crime unit.
Mickens, who is also known by the surnames of Boyce or Bursill, served as the APD finance director from April 1999 to June 2016.
The police board and the City of Abbotsford launched a civil suit – separate from criminal charges – against her in 2017, initially saying that she had stolen $192,000.
That amount was later amended to more than $312,000 after further discrepancies were discovered in police board accounting records.
Mickens was ordered to pay a total of $312,417, as well as the City of Abbotsford’s court costs of $15,000.
The criminal investigation was launched in 2017.
Court records for the civil lawsuit indicated that Mickens acquired the funds by preparing petty cash vouchers that contained “false and misleading information,” making misleading entries in the accounting record-keeping system and under-reporting cash payments.
Petty cash can be requested by an officer or employee of the APD to reimburse expenses – for example, to pay informants during the course of an investigation.
The petty cash vouchers are supposed to be signed by both the person issuing the voucher – another employee of the finance branch besides the director – and by the person receiving the cash.
But the court documents indicated that discrepancies in some of these transactions were discovered, including that some of the vouchers were in Mickens’ handwriting with her initials and were prepared on dates that the person normally handling the petty cash disbursements was out of the office.
As well, some of the vouchers were not signed by the party supposedly receiving the funds or were signed using initials that could not be matched to an existing employee.
The court documents indicated that the discrepancies were discovered after Mickens retired in June 2016. They are alleged to have occurred from 2013 to 2016.