HomeTop Countries News‘I was bullied by my own social worker,’ says defrauded youth in...

‘I was bullied by my own social worker,’ says defrauded youth in sentencing

Advocates for Indigenous youngsters gathered on the Kelowna, B.C., courthouse steps on Thursday, begging for justice for the victims of a former Kelowna social employee.

Inside, court docket heard how the actions of Robert Riley Saunders ceaselessly modified the futures of the youngsters that he was alleged to take care of.

Saunders embezzled greater than $460,000 from the federal government and foster youngsters, who have been principally Indigenous.

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White Collar Crime: How did a B.C. social employee embezzle $460K from the federal government?

Through sufferer impression statements, court docket heard heartbreaking tales of the empty guarantees Saunders made to youth in his care.

Some former youth in care mentioned Saunders began out by treating them with kindness and compassion however that it quickly turned to neglect and bullying.

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Court heard that as Saunders himself lived a lavish life-style, he robbed his victims of their youth.

The teenagers didn’t know that Saunders was opening joint financial institution accounts after which cashing cheques in their identify, stealing money that was meant to assist them dwell a greater life.

Victims mentioned they may at all times surprise what their lives might need been like had they been given the assist they wanted and deserved.

“I was bullied by my own social worker,” one sufferer instructed court docket via a written assertion.

They additionally mentioned the belief that they had in the system that was supposed to guard them has been destroyed.

Meanwhile, social employees who took on the teenagers’ circumstances after Saunders’ fraud was found instructed court docket of their struggles in serving to the youth, whom they name fantastic, lovely souls, as they tried to proper Saunders’ wrongs.

They additionally talked of how Saunders’ crimes have negatively impacted the social employee occupation in the group as belief has been misplaced.

“We now get painted with the same brush as him,” a social employee instructed the choose, including that it has impacted relationships with their shoppers.

As individuals wiped away tears in the gallery, Saunders at occasions appeared to go to sleep in the prisoner’s field.

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Jennifer Lewis, wellness supervisor for the Okanagan Nation Alliance, mentioned she used to work with Saunders.

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Former B.C. social employee charged with defrauding teenagers in care pleads responsible

“I am intensely angry about it,” she mentioned. “I remember working with Saunders years ago while he was doing all of this, and hearing some of the victim impact statements and his own reactions to those is really deeply disturbing.”

“His arrogance and his aggression back when those crimes were being committed were very real and felt by everybody,” she added.

She mentioned she believes his perspective was left unchecked, which enabled him to get away with the fraud.

“It’s the same thing everywhere with Indigenous people. They just dismiss all of our concerns all the time and then serious harm happens.”

“I want people to know that this is not an isolated incident. It’s a systemic incident. It’s based off of supremacy and racism, and it was allowed,” Lewis mentioned.

Saunders beforehand pleaded responsible to fraud over $5,000, breach of belief and utilizing a cast doc.

During a earlier listening to, Saunders took the stand, arguing he stole from the federal government, not youth in care as the teenagers wouldn’t have been entitled to the funds meant for hire as a result of they have been principally in foster houses.

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‘At no time did I put any youth in harm’s approach,” B.C. social-work fraudster testifies

Crown prosecutor Heather Magnin is asking for Saunders to spend six to eight years in jail. She argued that Saunders’ fraud scaled up over time, and famous that at one level he was bringing in triple his ministry wage.

“The reality that Mr. Saunders chose to target Indigenous children in care cannot be divorced from Mr. Saunders crime,” Magnin mentioned. “It is an important factor demonstrating the overall seriousness of these events.”

Saunders was opportunistic in extracting the utmost funds in every youth’s identify, the Crown argued.

The defence is predicted to make its arguments on Friday.

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