Former manager of poultry plant who stole $1.9 million from his employer should be jailed for four years: Crown
(Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
The Crown is seeking a four-year jail term for a former manager of a Coquitlam poultry company who stole $1.9 million from his bosses.
In sentencing submissions Thursday, Crown counsel Kevin Marks noted that Bruce Steven Arabsky, 54, had committed his crime against Superior Poultry Processors Ltd. because he was financially over-extended.
"He was drowning in debt. It's fair to say that at the end of the day, Mr. Arabsky was desperate and as a result he did what he did."
Marks told B.C. Supreme Court Justice Miriam Gropper that Arabsky's moral culpability for the theft was high and argued the offender had showed a "wanton and reckless disregard" for the welfare of his employer.
In March 2016, a few days into his trial, the father of five pleaded guilty to one count of theft over $5,000 in relation to the offence, that took place between November 2009 and May 2010. He later tried unsuccessfully to withdraw the guilty plea.
Court heard that Arabsky made several dozen electronic transfers totalling nearly $2 million from Superior to a company in Saskatchewan controlled by him. He did not tell his employer he'd done so and the employer was unaware that the money was missing.
The theft was only discovered when the company was looking into another financial issue and stumbled upon the crime, Marks told the judge.
Marks filed victim impact statements from the owners of the company which said that they were devastated by the breach of trust of their employee.
He said the primary sentencing principles were denunciation and deterrence.
Arabsky was found liable to the company in a civil lawsuit heard earlier in B.C. Supreme Court and ordered to pay $1.9 million. He has paid $400,000 so far, leaving nearly $1.5 million owed to the company.
Arabsky has no prior criminal record but in December 2014 was convicted for mislabelling and selling chicken drumsticks as turkey drumsticks, an offence committed under the Food and Drugs Act.
He'd instructed the production supervisor at Superior to prepare chicken drumsticks for export to Afghanistan and place them in boxes labelled turkey drumsticks. In March 2016, the B.C. Court of Appeal upheld his conviction for that offence.
Hollis Lucky, Arabsky's lawyer, told the judge that considering the circumstances of the offence and his client and applying the sentencing principles, a more appropriate sentence for Arabsky for the theft was 30 months in jail.
He emphasized that his client, who at one time acted as an adviser to two provincial ministers of agriculture regarding the poultry industry, had remained employed throughout the civil and criminal proceedings and had a supportive family.
Lucky said the impact on the family from Arabsky's incarceration will be significant because there are two teens who remain at home and will be supported by their mother on a single income.
In a short statement, Arabsky said that he deeply regretted the actions that he'd taken.
"I stand here accountable for what I've done and seek your grace and will accept whatever judgment you deem appropriate," he told the judge.
The judge said that she wanted to give the submissions of the lawyers due consideration and would impose sentence Sept. 1.