Lawsuit launched by Penticton Minor Hockey Association

Family of former treasurer accused of embezzling $315,000 named in statement of claim, which also lists five John Does as defendants

Three family members are among eight people listed as defendants in a lawsuit filed by the Penticton Minor Hockey Association against the estate of a former treasurer accused of embezzlement.

The PMHA alleges Sandy Elder misappropriated more than $315,000 over three years, according to a forensic audit conducted on its finances following her death in 2013.

A copy of the statement of claim wasn’t immediately available, but a summary of the case on B.C.’s online court registry lists five John Does plus Elder’s husband, Mark, and two children, Matthew and Samantha, as defendants.

The association on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against Elder’s estate in a bid to recoup some of that money.

PMHA lawyer Erik Lund on Wednesday told a room full of concerned parents at the association’s annual general meeting that it could be difficult to actually recover any money.

“It’s impossible to say whether there are any assets or not that can be recovered,” said Lund, adding he’s also been in contact with the Penticton RCMP.

“They are conducting a parallel and thorough investigation of their own into the criminal aspect of this,” said Lund.

Penticton RCMP spokesman Sgt. Rick Dellebuur said they now have a copy of the forensic audit and “we’re reviewing same and we’re following up on any information from what we’ve heard.”

“We are looking at that forensic audit to make sure we’ve covered all the bases,” he said.

“We’ve also received some information via Crime Stoppers that we’re also following up on.

“It’s not the only reason we are having a further look into the matter, but it is part and parcel.

“That and the audit and the other things that we’ve heard.”

Dellebuur added if it wasn’t for the tip providing further information, they would not consider criminal charges against Elder.

“There has been other information that has surfaced so we want to make sure that there is nothing valid as far as all the innuendo and rumours that have been floating around,” he said, such as others being involved.

“If it’s not criminal and we see it looks like her, it will be the end of our investigation and they can do whatever they want civilly,” he said.

Blaine Peterson, a former PMHA director, asked Lund how the money went missing under the eye of a professional accounting firm and the board.

“Who is accountable to check that on behalf of our membership?” he said.

Lund answered that the embezzlement scheme was quite sophisticated and, “at this point, I’m certainly not in a position to say whether there is or is not liability on the chartered accountants.

Craig Finer asked if any effort was made to evaluate the assets in Elder’s estate prior to spending $29,000 on the forensic audit.

Lund said a standard check was done, which revealed Elder had no real property registered in her name and no vehicles or usual assets, “the low hanging fruit so to speak.”

“So you have more than an educated opinion that it’s likely that we’re not going to recover anything? It certainly seems what you are suggesting,” Finer said.

“I am urging some restraint in terms of the level of optimism here,” Lund replied. “If a person was going to steal $300,000, they might not put it into a house registered in her own name and land title.”

Brian Hutcheson then asked about the future.

“I’m concerned about the damage that has been done,” said Hutcheson. “What is going to be done on behalf of the board to convince people in this town to keep investing in minor hockey?”

Lund suggested donors would get some comfort once results of the investigation are made “somewhat public,” and the litigation is concluded.

PMHA has also released its unaudited financial statements for the past season, which showed $176,896 in cash on hand, up from $98,098 the fiscal year ended April 30.

Registration fees were up by nearly $28,743 to $251,057 and tournament revenue increased by $34,936 to $162,232.




Just Posted

This photo of the small wildfire burning above Naramata was taken at 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021 (Monique Tamminga Western News)
BC Wildfire on scene of small wildfire above Naramata

Black smoke can be seen rising from the mountain

Keremeos’ heritage Grist Mill and Gardens. (Brennan Phillips - Keremeos Review)
Keremeos Grist Mill looking forward to restrictions easing with exclusive concert planned

Juno Award-winning folk artist Valdy is set to take the stage

Letter writer says COVID has created lots of newbie cyclists who don't know rules of cycling. (File photo)
LETTER: Newbie cyclists in Penticton need lessons on rules of the road

Penticton cycling group just received city funding, should give back by offering how-to lessons

No dental coverage for low income Canadians. (File photo)
OPINION: Penticton MP’s proposal for universal dental coverage rejected

One in 3 Canadians have no dental coverage, with COVID making it even worse

The weekly COVID-19 map for June 6 to 12. (BC CDC)
South Okanagan sees only 5 new cases in last week

The Similkameen Valley went a second week without any new cases

Bear wanders Kelowna on June 15. (Michelle Wallace/Facebook)
Bear climbs fence, uses crosswalk in Kelowna

The bear was spotted on Baron Road Wednesday evening

Students in the Grade 10 entrepreneurship program at Summerland Unisus School have completed a cookbook with international recipes. (Contributed)
Summerland students create virtual international cookbook

Entrepreneurship program at Summerland Unisus School uses virtual cookbook as fundraiser

Hundreds of people, young and old, joined the three-day Walking Our Spirits Home procession, honouring residential school survivors, those who never made it home and all those affected by the institutions. Here people walk the third portion on June 13. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
Walking Our Spirits Home from Kamloops provides path to healing

First Nations in and beyond Secwépemc territory join in to honour residential school survivors

More flames
Lake Country home destroyed in large blaze, 11 dogs rescued

Fire crews are responding to 10839 Hallam Drive

(Facebook/Kelowna Cabs)
Kelowna Cabs reaches tentative agreement with dispatchers union

The tentative agreement could help end the dispute between the taxi company and the dispatchers

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

A boat sharing service is extending to Summerland. The company, Penticton Boat Club and Rentals, is also taking over the boat rentals at Summerland Waterfront Resort. (Photo by Chris Stenberg)
Boat sharing service extended from Penticton to Summerland

Company will also operate boat rentals at Summerland Waterfront Resort

201 First Street West 1980s. Prior revitalization. (Photo from Revelstoke Museum and Archives)
Man who redesigned downtown Revelstoke honoured with lifetime achievement award

Robert Inwood has worked on historical projects across the province

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

Most Read