Gambling addiction is a serious concern that could have a lasting impact on people’s lives and careers. This happened to Heather Grant-Jury, once Principal Secretary to former Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger, who allegedly committed fraud worth CA$160,000. Friday saw her testify in court where he shared her perspective of the crimes she committed taking advantage of her position.
Gambling enthusiasts consider themselves free to make conscious decisions and they can stop gambling at any given moment. In reality, the activity itself is so captivating that people can often times find themselves hooked on it. Mrs. Grant-Jury’s situation showcases the harmful impact problem gambling could have on someone’s career and personal relationships, as well as the level of secrecy one has to develop in order to maintain this double life out of sight.
Her Gambling Habits Got Out of Hand
She claimed that the work stress aggravated her gambling addiction. Back at the beginning of 2018, she pleaded guilty to fraud over CA$5,000. In the Winnipeg courtroom, the former Director of the Training Center for the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 832 testified that between May 2011 and December 2015 she used the union credit cards at her disposal for covering her tracks.
She said that the gambling activities were funded by the bank accounts with family money. Over time, that amount began progressively decreasing, so she had to become inventive and find a reliable cash source to provide for her family. This is how she began using the union credit card for personal purchases, in order to keep her gambling habits a secret.
Her husband and daughter were not supposed to find out or feel the change in spending habits, not to mention the lack of money. Mr. Grant-Jury stated that she was indeed using her business account for personal expenses while she was on her leading position in the labor union. Previous allegations state that those might have reached thousands of Canadian dollar ahead of 2016.
Crown attorneys Donald Melnyk and Peter Edgett have previously issued estimations that she could have spent as much as CA$160,000, whereas lawyer Zilla Jones defending Mr. Grant-Jury stated that the overall figure ranges around CA$60,000.
Union Seeks Compensation for the Fraud
Upon seeing the alleged amount of Canadian dollars that have been spent on covering her tracks, the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 832 issued a statement that it is going to seek compensation. The former Director of the Training Center has already returned some CA$10,000. In addition to her own story told in court, there was more information about the receipts that painted the picture of her spending habits.
Her purchases range from various gift cards and daily groceries to personal items in copious amounts. Among the things she purchased with the union credit card, there is a leather tote, a bracelet, as well as a dollhouse. Mr. Grant-Jury claims that the latter item was purchased and immediately donated to the Christmas Cheer Board.
Mr. Grant-Jury stated in court that she began with the fraudulent activity in 2014 and was later fired from the union in 2016, a timeline that contradicts previous allegations that the crime started in May 2011.
It should be pointed out that she was Manitoba Premier Selinger’s Principal Secretary from the last months of 2014 to a couple of months into 2015. March 21 is going to see another hearing. Manitoba’s provincial court would have to estimate the entire amount of cash spent in this fraudulent scheme and then issue a sentence.