Uncovering Wage Fraud and Theft

In a recent B.C. Supreme Court decision, the estate of Wanda Barbara Moscipan, who passed away over a decade ago, has been ordered to pay over $650,000 to the University of British Columbia (UBC) for wage fraud and theft. The case, which spanned from 1997 to 2011, sheds light on the complexities of employee misconduct and the legal ramifications for employers.

Read a full re-cap of this story from CTV News.

Moscipan held a prominent administrative role at both UBC and the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority (VCHA), where she had significant control over financial matters. However, suspicions arose in 2011 when a new department head ordered an audit of Moscipan’s activities, revealing a series of fraudulent actions.

The audit uncovered instances of wage theft, with Moscipan receiving 180% of a full-time salary without authorization. She exploited her dual role to manipulate timesheets and forge supervisors’ signatures to grant herself unauthorized pay raises. Despite her claims of working two jobs, evidence suggested otherwise, leading to her termination from UBC.

The legal proceedings extended beyond UBC, as VCHA pursued its own action against Moscipan’s estate. The court found Moscipan guilty of fraud and theft, ordering restitution of nearly $575,000 to VCHA for funds misappropriated between 2003 and 2011. Moscipan’s estate was also deemed “unjustly enriched,” necessitating repayment of over $594,000 to UBC for wage theft and additional restitution for stolen funds from a dormant bank account.

This case highlights the importance of robust internal controls and oversight mechanisms within organizations to detect and prevent employee misconduct. Despite Moscipan’s deception spanning several years, diligent audits eventually uncovered the extent of her fraudulent activities. Employers must remain vigilant in safeguarding their financial interests and upholding ethical standards in the workplace.

Moreover, the legal implications for employees involved in fraudulent activities are significant. Moscipan’s actions led to her dismissal and resulted in substantial financial liabilities for her estate. This serves as a cautionary tale for employees tempted to engage in dishonest behaviour, emphasizing the severe consequences that may follow.

From a legal standpoint, the case underscores the principles of unjust enrichment and restitution. The court’s decision to compel Moscipan’s estate to repay the misappropriated funds reflects the need to restore fairness and integrity to the affected organizations.

The Moscipan case poignantly reminds us of the importance of ethical conduct and accountability in the workplace. Employers must remain vigilant in detecting and addressing employee fraud, while individuals must recognize the grave consequences of such behaviour. Through diligent legal proceedings, justice can be served, and organizations can take steps to prevent similar occurrences.

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Get in touch with us today to start a conversation and explore how we can navigate these legal intricacies together. Your peace of mind and legal clarity are our top priorities.

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