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Jail time sought for B.C. accountant who stole $124K from sports group

Defence lawyer Wade Jenson noted that Adams sold his home to repay the money that he stole. The $124,000 was paid back before he was criminally charged
The thefts from the Kelowna Minor Lacrosse Association occurred from 2014 until 2018. | pixabay

Crown prosecutors are seeking a one-year jail term for a former Chartered Professional Accountant and treasurer of the Kelowna Minor Lacrosse Association who stole $124,000 from the group.

John Scott Adams, 59, was charged in December 2021 with fraud and theft over $5,000 after he was caught writing checks to himself that were drawn from the account of the non-profit Kelowna Minor Lacrosse Association.

The thefts occurred from 2014 until 2018.

During a sentencing hearing Monday afternoon, Adams sat in court with his head down.

The court heard Adams stole money after he and his wife started renovations on their home that simply expanded out of control, in combination with taxes becoming overwhelming for him.

Adams worked as a named partner at accounting firm Adams Heyman Owen, which has since rebranded as Heyman Owen Chartered Professional Accountants.

In December 2021, the current partner of Heyman Owen CPA Jason Owen told Castanet Adams allegedly used the firm's letterhead and software to help cover up the fraud.

"I just started doing it; it was so easy. Why don't you guys look? It's just a slippery slope, and as a CPA, I know you get caught... like it's stupid," Adams said to an RCMP member during the investigation, court heard.

Defence lawyer Wade Jenson noted that Adams sold his home to repay the money that he stole. The $124,000 was paid back before he was criminally charged.

"Mr. Adams knew better than most that his actions were criminal and that they threatened to undermine public confidence in his profession," said the Crown prosecutor on Monday.

"If it came to a lawyer obstructing justice or a doctor deliberately harming a patient... professionals doing the very thing that they are not supposed to do."

Adams voluntarily resigned his registration as a CPA in November 2018.

Adams' lawyer argued for a conditional sentence order, which would see him served his sentence in the community rather than prison. The Crown is seeking a one-year jail term.

On Monday, Adams apologized for his actions.

"Sorry to everybody, including my family, Kelowna Minor Lacrosse Association, work colleagues, partners, and all my friends," he said.

Judge Michelle Danyluk reserved judgment for a later date.