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Defrauded nuns, woman faces new charges

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A Brantford woman, who was sent to prison in 2009 for siphoning nearly $1.5 million from the retirement fund of a group of elderly nuns, has been charged for fraud over $5,000.

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Brantford police said Anne Francis Griffiths, 57, was arrested April 26 and also charged with uttering a forged document.

Police also confirmed that, at the time they arrested Griffiths, there was a warrant for her arrest from Ontario Provincial Police in Georgian Bay on a separate incident. An OPP spokesperson said he could not comment on the warrant as it is part of an ongoing investigation.

Griffiths returns to court Oct. 21 on the Brantford matter.

Twelve years ago, Griffiths pleaded guilty to theft over $5,000 in the case of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Hamilton.

At a sentencing hearing, Superior Court Justice James Ramsay was told the 67 retired nuns, whose average age was 75, had dedicated their lives to the church and community with salaries earned by their work as nurses and teachers going into a pool of money that was used for charitable work and retirement.

Griffiths was hired as an accountant by the nuns in 2005. The Sisters of St. Joseph first detected accounting irregularities in December 2006 and Griffiths was terminated the following month.

Ramsay said a sizeable amount of the stolen money went to buy a seven-bedroom $500,000 home in Brantford, with a saltwater pool, hot tub, extravagant furnishings and luxury cars.

Griffiths made 869 false accounting entries. She transferred thousands of dollars to herself and to family accounts. Her husband and mother originally were charged with possession of stolen property over $5,000 but those charges were later dropped.

“The motive here was greed,” the judge said in  sentencing Griffiths to three years in prison.

“You wanted to live like a rock star and didn’t mind if the sisters paid for it.”

Griffiths and her husband and mother were evicted from their Hunter Way home after the nuns got a court ruling that gave them possession of the property.

When she was sentenced, Griffiths promised to make restitution to the Sisters of St. Joseph. “I’m very sorry for what I’ve done,” she said.

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