A 52-year-old woman has been accused by her former employer of “alleged check fraud” and faced her first trial this week, allegedly defrauding her Burnaby employer of nearly $2 million over a decade.
Sharina Rattan, a bookkeeper and office manager at Vidcom Communications Ltd.’s Burnaby headquarters, was charged on Friday (22nd). The charges include using forged documents, fraud over $5,000, and theft over $5,000, as reported by Burnaby NOW.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) initiated an investigation in September 2020 following reports of “alleged check fraud.”
The criminal proceedings against Rattan by Vidcom are in their early stages. According to court registry information, the criminal charges allege her involvement in fraud between January 1, 2014, and April 30, 2020.
Additionally, Vidcom filed a civil lawsuit against Rattan, her parents, and her then cohabiting partner in April 2020, an ongoing matter in court.
According to Vidcom’s civil claim, Rattan was the sole bookkeeper during her tenure starting from March 2005.
The company alleges that over about a decade, between January 2009 and April 2020, she engaged in fraudulent activities, embezzling close to $2 million.
The civil claim states that a “significant component” of Rattan’s alleged fraud involved forging her supervisor’s signature on checks made out to herself.
The claim alleges: “To conceal or disguise these fraudulent expenditures, [Rattan] recorded these transactions in [Vidcom’s] accounting system as legitimate payments to third parties.”
Vidcom stated that during Rattan’s maternity leave in March 2020, they discovered her alleged fraudulent behavior while reviewing financial and accounting records.
Rattan, her parents, and her former cohabiting partner denied all fraud allegations made by Vidcom in their separate responses to the lawsuit.
The court made several rulings regarding this civil case.
In a June 2022 ruling, Justice David Crerar of the BC Supreme Court ordered Rattan, her parents, and her former partner to refrain from transferring ownership of three properties located in Burnaby, Surrey, and Vancouver, respectively.
Vidcom argued that regardless of the current ownership status, Rattan holds “full or partial interest” in all three properties.
Crerar noted in the ruling that Vidcom’s fraud allegations had not been substantiated in court but were supported by “extensive forensic accounting reports.”
The civil case, initially scheduled for trial in April, was later postponed.
Gary Fraser, Vidcom’s lawyer, did not respond to requests for comment.
Rattan is scheduled to appear in court for the next hearing on the criminal charges on January 17. She has not yet entered a plea.