A local man who pleaded guilty to theft over $5,000 was sentenced in Cranbrook Provincial Court to a $4,000 fine and six months probation to complete 60 hours of community service.
Mike Gould was charged with fraud and using fraudulent cheques after failing to immediately pay an $8,000 tab for a banquet at a local restaurant to celebrate a promised $7.5 million donation to the Kimberley Dynamiters and Kimberley Minor Hockey Association.
‘I’m very sorry for my mistakes,” Gould told Judge Lynal Doerksen. “I should never have done it in the first place and I’m kicking myself in the ass for it.”
While Gould pleaded guilty to theft, the second count of using fraudulent cheques was stayed by the court.
Two cheques were written the night of the banquet, however, there were insufficient funds in the accounts provided. Gould took the cheques from his stepfather, who he lives with in Wasa while splitting his time in Calgary.
According to Morné Coetzee, Gould’s defence lawyer, Gould took the cheques to provide payment in a moment of panic because he couldn’t liquidate some financial assets because they had been frozen.
Gould eventually settled the tab with a cash payment of $7,500 six weeks after the event.
Despite the eventual payment to the restaurant, the fraud charge still stood, said Crown Counsel Kristian DeJong.
“He’s still convicted of it because a fraud is a fraud; you don’t undo these things once they’re done and that’s why he was sentenced today,” DeJong said.
Crown had asked for the $4,000 fine, 12 months probation and 60 hours of community service while defence argued the appropriate sentence should be a higher fine of up to $15,000 that he was capable of paying, but no probation and community service of 20 hours.
Judge Doerksen cited cooperation with police, an early guilty plea, repayment to the restaurant as mitigating factors in sentencing.
Gould approached the Kimberley Dynamiters and Kimberley Minor Hockey Association early last fall about making a $7.5 million donation to support hockey in his hometown. Gould claimed he was financially capable of making the donations by winning millions in a European lottery.