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Bookkeeper charged with money laundering, defrauding $1.7M from Victoria non-profit

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A Vancouver Island woman is facing charges of fraud, theft and money laundering after she allegedly defrauded her non-profit employer of more than $1.7 million and wired the money to her personal accounts.

Galyna Kulykova, who was born in 1982, was charged in B.C. provincial court on March 26 following a co-ordinated investigation by the Victoria police, the Nanaimo RCMP, border agents in Canada and the United States, and an RCMP liaison officer at the Canadian embassy in Turkey.

Kulykova was arrested at the Vancouver International Airport after Victoria police patrol officers received a complaint from a non-profit group last December. She was later released and is scheduled to appear in court next on May 15.

Victoria police say a scheduled audit at the organization suggested Kulykova, who worked as a bookkeeper, had been taking money from the group and putting it into her own personal accounts for the better part of the year.

Court documents list the date of each of the three offences – theft, fraud over $5,000 and laundering the proceeds of crime – as Feb. 1, 2023.

Investigators have so far recovered $900,000 of the $1.7 million in suspected stolen funds, much of which was used to buy gold, cryptocurrency and a new vehicle, Victoria police said. Work is ongoing to recover the full amount.

In a statement Thursday, Victoria police Chief Del Manak said he is proud of the officers involved in the case.

"This is a clear example of how our efforts put money back into the hands of citizens and businesses in Victoria and Esquimalt," he said.

Police believe there may be other organizations that were defrauded by the suspect, and are asking potential victims or anyone with information, to contact investigators at 250-995-7654, or report anonymously to Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers.

Victoria police said additional information about the case will not be shared publicly as the matter proceeds through court.

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