Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Nanny who stole $165,000 from judge's widow jailed

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She was a trusted nanny who swindled a Manitoba judge's widow out of tens of thousands of dollars at a time of grief and hardship.

Now she's paying the price by spending a year behind bars.

Kelly Zaborowicz, 43, learned Friday she lost her bid for a conditional sentence, which would have allowed her to stay free in the community.

She previously admitted stealing more than $165,000 from Susan Wortzman, the widow of the late Court of Queen's Bench Justice John Scurfield.

"The theft in this case involved taking advantage of victims when they were at their most vulnerable," provincial court Judge Larry Allen ruled.

Allen said he was satisfied Zaborowicz didn't pose a public danger, but said her thefts cried out for a strong message to be sent.

"While this couple was dealing with impending death, Ms. Zaborowicz was stealing from them," Allen said.

Zaborowicz was hired to work for Scurfield's family to play a "stabilizing role" in their lives after the judge was diagnosed with cancer.

Between September 2008 and September 2011, Zaborowicz forged 192 of Wortzman's cheques.

The majority of the cheques were deposited into her personal bank account.

Some were used to pay off balances on a credit card in Wortzman's name that Zaborowicz stole.

Some cheques were cashed after she left her position, court heard.

The ill-gotten funds were used to buy furniture, jewelry, spa treatments and other items.

"Greed appears to be the principal motivators for the money stolen," Allen said.

He noted Zaborowicz cashed cheques in the days just before and after Scurfield died in November 2009.

The case came to light after Zaborowicz left her nanny's job and Wortzman noticed issues with her bank account.

Wortzman promptly sued and won a default judgment in civil court, which Zaborowicz didn't contest.

As that was happening, Zaborowicz was charged following a police investigation.

The Crown initially signalled it would consent to a conditional sentence for Zaborowicz, a first offender.

That changed earlier this year when a court-ordered report on her background was viewed as unfavourable by prosecutors.

The tenor of the hearings seemed to change when Wortzman personally described in court the toll the crimes took on her and her ability to trust others.

Allen found the case was different than one in which an offender steals from a workplace or corporation.

"The loss is felt directly as a personal betrayal of trust," Allen said Friday.

Zaborowicz, a mother of two adult daughters, argued she should be allowed to avoid jail in order to stay working and be able to repay what she stole.

Allen, however, noted she has enrolled in school instead of focusing on working at the job she had.

He found she's taken few steps since being caught to make repayments of her own volition.

In addition to the jail time, he ordered Zaborowicz to serve two years of probation.

 

james.turner@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 17, 2014 B1

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