Local woman charged in Toronto case

A Vernon woman is among five people charged in a Toronto fraud investigation.

A Vernon woman is among five people charged in a Toronto fraud investigation.

Toronto Police Service report that in September 2008, a Toronto firm was hired to conduct a financial review of the Bloorview School Authority’s finances between July 2006 and September 2008.

That audit showed that four employees – including the woman who now lists Vernon as her home – and one person not employed by the school allegedly misappropriated nearly $700,000 from the school.

The matter was then reported to the Toronto Police fraud squad, who laid the charges against the five individuals on Monday.

The Bloorview School Authority, according to its website, “is an educational facility that provides innovative school programs to children and youth with special needs.”

“I am completely outraged by the news,” said Saryl Jacobson, a director of the Bloorview school who took over the position from the Vernon woman in September 2007. “I knew the news was coming out. But the fact that this has happened is very upsetting, we’re all upset about it and outraged that it could happen.”

Neither Jacobson nor Toronto Police Services would comment further on the matter, as the case is now before the courts.

Linda LaRocque, 63, former principal/director of the Bloorview School Authority, who lists Vernon as her residence, is charged with fraud over $5,000 and laundering proceeds of crime.

Others charged include the school’s former business and finance manager, a former administrative assistance and a former secretary.

All five people are scheduled to appear in a Toronto court on Feb. 15. The allegations have not been proved in any court. LaRocque did not respond to The Morning Star by press time. She is presumed innocent of the charges.