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B.C. payroll administrator ordered to repay $1.9M in misappropriated funds

A file photo shows a statue inside the B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, B.C. A file photo shows a statue inside the B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, B.C.

A B.C. woman has been ordered to repay nearly $2 million that she misappropriated from her employer while working as a payroll administrator in what a judge describes as an "egregious case of employee theft."

The judgment in the case was posted online Monday and outlined how Domenica Fazio was found to have defrauded B.A. Blacktop Ltd. and Eurovia BC Inc. by making 885 separate payments to 19 separate bank accounts between 2015 and 2021.

"Ms. Fazio routinely, deliberately, and with obvious premeditation helped herself to over $1.9 million of the plaintiffs’ money while working as a trusted payroll supervisor. It is beyond doubt that her actions were planned and deliberate," Justice Gary P. Weatherill wrote.

"Simply put, while in a position of trust, Ms. Fazio perpetrated a deliberate, methodical, and exploitative fraud on the plaintiffs," he continued.

The case was decided summarily, with the judge finding that Fazio's response to the company's civil claim did not deny the fraud and offered no reasonable defence to the allegations.

"I am amply satisfied that the plaintiffs have proven their case against Ms. Fazio in spades," Weatherill wrote.

Among the evidence the judge considered was a report from a forensic accountant that detailed Fazio's modus operandi.

The expert review of the payroll records found that Fazio would randomly choose current or former employees of the company and change their banking information so the money would be deposited in one of her accounts, the decision says. After the payments were made, she would then go back and reverse the changes to the direct deposit information, it continues. According to the judgment, she was also found to have paid "unauthorized employee wages" to herself.

Fazio was ordered to repay the company $1,923,820.74 and Weatherill ordered an additional $100,000 in punitive damages.

"Ms. Fazio was an employee in a position of trust and committed a serious, protracted, sophisticated, and deliberate fraud that resulted in the plaintiffs suffering a significant loss. Her unlawful acts require denunciation and an award that should be high enough to deter others from such conduct in the future," he wrote.

"A message must be sent to those who are placed in a position of trust over corporate funds such as Ms. Fazio here, namely that if you steal from your employer, the consequences will be severe."

Fazio was also ordered to pay special costs and pre-judgment interest. Top Stories

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