Leza George fits the classic profile of the "serial embezzler," and has been fired from several dental offices for embezzling. But it appears that her fraudulent activities don't stop there.
Leza George, a Bedford, Nova Scotia woman who stole and defrauded thousands of dollars from 13 different victims, is going to get a second chance to prove she should be on parole.
Leza Anne George, 49, was freed in May after serving two-thirds of the 25-month jail sentence she received in December 2011 after pleading guilty to 37 fraud and theft-related charges. (The sentence was in addition to the seven months she had spent in custody following her arrest.)
Her freedom didn’t last long because she refused to abide by one of the conditions of her parole, a Parole Board of Canada decision on her latest bid for freedom revealed. The decision was reached earlier this month and made public last week.
Before her release, Leza George had warned the board that she would not report to a parole officer in the unnamed city she was being released in, the decision says.
It also says she followed through with her threat, calling the prison to say she would not report to the parole officer and that she wanted to return to jail.
Her wish was granted. Her parole was revoked, a warrant was issued for her arrest and she turned herself in.
In an interview conducted after returning to prison “you explained in detail your belief you were not being released to the area selected by Correctional Service Canada, and that you have absolutely no interest in making living arrangements in a city that you will leave at the end of your sentence,” the decision says.
It also says Leza George wants to be released to another region and that if that didn’t happen, she threatened to do the same thing again.
The parole board set Oct. 27 as her new release date.
When she is freed, Leza George will be subject to the same conditions she had during her first parole. They include being barred from being in any paid or volunteer position where she would be responsible for managing finances or investments.
Other conditions prohibit her from possessing debit, credit or bank cards and cheques without prior permission of her parole supervisor. Leza George must also provide regular financial information to the supervisor and report all sexual and non-sexual relationships.
George was denied full and day parole in August 2012 after a review panel said Correctional Service of Canada officials had advised them that her attitude, ability to function in the community and personal emotional abilities needed major improvement.
The panel also noted that she had been removed from an in-prison rehabilitation group twice, the second time because her case management team believed her “anger and resentment were precluding any progress, and program facilitators were concerned that (she) may have been negatively impacting other group participants.”
It also said Correctional Services believed Leza George did not have the ability to control her crime cycle.
During her crime spree she defrauded, stole from or illegally used credits cards of a number of victims, including landlords, friends, a boarder, banks and employers.
At times she claimed to be a lawyer, successful business owner and cancer survivor.
She had originally been charged with 136 charges but some overlapped the others, Woodburn said. All the victims were represented in the charges she accepted responsibility for.
Leza George, who also used a number of aliases, was also ordered to pay back about $55,000 to 11 of the victims.
The agreed statement of facts showed that George defrauded, stole from and illegally used credits cards of a number of victims, including landlords, friends, a boarder, banks and employers.
She claimed she was a lawyer, successful business owner and a cancer survivor and that she was divorcing, just moving to the country or selling houses she was renting.
In accepting the recommended sentence, Judge Michael Sherar said George is “an actor.”
Now that she has accepted responsibility for her crimes, the judge hoped she would “take the proper steps to advance your life and your lifestyle without having to defraud other people.”
One of her crimes involved using a boarder’s credit card to pay hotel and self-storage fees totaling $11,000.
After court, Sutherland said Leza George’s guilty pleas saved the court weeks and even months of trial time.
“As the judge indicated, she has a fair bit of potential if she applies herself,” he said. “She is a very intelligent, articulate woman who unfortunately, for one reason or another, got involved in a life of crime that brought her here today.”
George is relieved to be able to put the matters behind her, Sutherland said.
“One is never ecstatic on an occasion like this, however the sentence is an excellent one from the defence standpoint,” he said.
Woodburn said George deserved the lengthy sentence “considering all the people she defrauded.”
“She was using anything in her means to defraud anyone from financial institutions to innocent people so she could live the lifestyle she wanted,” said the Crown attorney, who had prosecuted her on previous fraud charges.
“She has been consistently defrauding people for years. Hopefully she’ll be able to rehabilitate herself while she’s in federal penitentiary.”
Bud Webster was renting George the house she was living in when she was arrested in June. He said he’s out between $4,000 and $5,000, made up of a month’s rent for a cheque that bounced, along with storage and moving fees for her belongings and lost rent.
He doesn’t expect to get any money back through the order made in court. He said he also attempting to recover the money through the small claims court.
Webster said the sentence was “not much time for what she did and how many people were impacted.”
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