By: Emma King & Kiki Cekota
A Ryerson contract lecturer has been given a conditional sentence of two years less a day for committing fraud.
Darlene Edwardes-Evans, who teaches at Ryerson’s School of Child and Youth Care, was sentenced at the Ontario Court of Justice in Peterborough today for defrauding non-profit organization Big Brothers Big Sisters Peterborough (BBBSP) of $119,486 over the course of nine years.
Edwardes-Evans will serve the first 12 months of her sentence under house arrest, and will be subject to electronic monitoring. She will also have to complete 150 community service hours within the first 18 months of her sentence.
Edwardes-Evans served as BBBSP’s executive director for 15 years. She was fired in March of 2015 after the organization learned of her actions.
Mark Shuwera, the current executive director of BBBSP, says he is dissatisfied with her sentencing after what Edwardes-Evans has put the organization through.
“It’s been a long two years. I’m disappointed, but relieved it’s over. I don’t think there was enough emphasis placed on the impact it’s had on the organization,” said Shuwera. “You can’t put a dollar figure on how our reputation has suffered and continued to suffer.”
Shuwera said that BBBSP has lost significant partners he’s afraid will never come back .
Edwardes-Evans, whose name appears as Darlene Evans on Ryerson’s website, deposited cheques into a bogus bank account in the name of BBBSP. She then transferred $107,016 into her own personal bank account at TD.
Edwardes-Evans pleaded guilty to one count of fraud on June 1, 2017.
Madam Justice Esther Rosenberg said mitigating factors included Edwardes-Evans paying back BBBSP the full $107,016 and donating an extra $19,000. Rosenberg also said her lack of criminal record and guilty plea influenced her final sentencing decision.
When contacted via her Ryerson email, an autoreply states she is unavailable for response. Kiaras Gharabaghi, director of the School of Child and Youth Care, was also unavailable for comment.
“Our philosophy has always been look forward, don’t look back. Over the last two years, we’ve been dragged back a little bit, but now we can finally look forward,” said Shuwera. “We’ll continue to do all we can for the kids in this community.”