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Former Squamish Nation councillor jailed for fraud granted day parole

Krisandra Jacobs must stay away from gambling among terms of day parole
A former band councillor and senior manager of the Squamish Nation has been granted day parole in the community after serving one year of her four-year jail sentence for fraud. | Paul McGrath / North Shore News

A former councillor of Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) who defrauded the Nation out of more than $855,000 has been granted day parole after serving one year in prison for her crimes.

Former Nation co-chair and department head Krisandra Lenore Jacobs, 59, was handed a four-year jail sentence a year ago in North Vancouver provincial court after previously being found guilty of fraud and theft, following a lengthy trial.

At the time of sentencing, the judge said Jacobs’s breach of the trust placed in her as both an elected councillor and high-level employee of the Nation called for a jail sentence to act as a deterrent.

At the time of the fraud, between April 2011 and May 2014, Jacobs was one of two people in charge of an emergency fund meant as a fund of last resort for Squamish Nation members in need. Usually, requests for emergency assistance came through legitimate channels and were backed up with proper documentation afterwards.

But during the trial, several witnesses who worked in the Nation’s finance department described how Jacobs had set up an additional “shadow process” that she used to circumvent those controls, often calling in employees on weekends to issue cheques to her.

A spreadsheet referred to during the trial revealed many of the withdrawals Jacobs made after she deposited the cheques were at ATMs near casinos in both the Lower Mainland and Squamish.

Her defence lawyer John Turner had argued that Jacobs should receive a lighter sentence – two years in jail – because her fraud was committed as a result of a gambling addiction, which he described as the “overriding factor” in her crimes.

Jacobs was granted day parole Oct. 17 following a community assisted parole hearing held recently in Squamish. As part of that process, available to Indigenous offenders, Jacobs faced between 60 and 70 members of the Squamish Nation community, during which “she apologized to [members of the community] and let them know she would like to be reintegrated into the community,” according to a letter sent out by the Squamish Nation Council.

At her parole hearing Jacobs “took full responsibility” for her actions, according to a written decision released by the board. “You told the board you recognize you have hurt people,” the board wrote.

In her hearing, Jacobs told the board it was important for her to come back to her home so she could apologize to the leaders and staff of the community, according to the written decision.

“At your hearing you placed significant weight on your gambling and indicated that you have learned that gambling is worse than a drug addiction and it hijacked your mind,” the parole board wrote to Jacobs. “You also indicated that you found it very difficult to ask for help and you were overwhelmed with deadlines, time sensitive issues and the difficult political aspects of your role.”

Jacobs has taken part in support programs, including those incorporating Indigenous practices and counselling for gambling addictions while in jail and has made “significant progress,” according to the parole board.

The parole board also commended Jacobs for taking part in the community hearing. “This was courageous and demonstrates a commitment to openness and healing,” the board wrote.

Conditions of Jacobs’s six-month day parole include being banned from being in any position involving managing finances for any other individual, charity, business or institution.

Jacobs is also banned from gambling and from entering a casino or other gambling location, according to the parole board.

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