After a four-year run of stealing Manitoba lottery tickets from the gas station where she worked, a former assistant manager is on the hook for paying back the full amount, totalling over $400,000.
In June 2019, a statement of claim was filed in Manitoba’s Court of King’s Bench against the accused, Cynthia Hallick. The claim alleges Hallick stole a “vast quantity” of lottery tickets during her time at the Sportsman’s Stop Esso in Dugald, MB between 2015 and June 2019, resulting in a net loss of $425,755.92.
Hallick denied the accusations in a statement of defence filed months later.
However, the Justice overseeing her case, Theodor Bock, disagreed. His written decision was released last month.
Justice makes decision based on “overwhelming” evidence
Justice Bock’s review of the facts of the case started with a timeline of Hallick’s employment at the gas station. According to Bock, the defendant began working part-time at Sportsman’s in 2011, later earning the role of assistant manager. The promotion meant Hallick was now responsible for placing orders for lottery tickets and holding the keys to the strong box containing the unactivated tickets.
Court documents also indicate that she was “often the only employee on staff” during her 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. shifts from Monday to Thursday.
Bock said in 2019 the store’s owner was notified by his accountant that the shop’s finances were not adding up. The suspicious patterns led the owner to believe that the station was losing money in lottery sales.
“In theory, it was impossible to lose on lottery sales, since Sportsman’s only paid Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation, for tickets sold, and received a (five per cent) commission on each sale,” said Bock in his decision.
According to the accountant, there was only one explanation: someone was stealing lottery tickets.
Acting on his counsel, the store owner “surreptitiously video-recorded” Hallick’s shift on June 6, 2019. Based on the definitive findings, the video was later filed as an exhibit at trial.
“Several times through the course of her shift Ms. Hallick can be seen taking unactivated scratch and win tickets from behind the cashier’s counter without ever paying for them,” said Bock.
This particular act of theft led to $938 in lost lottery ticket sales revenue that day, per the store owner. As a result, Hallick was fired .
Hallick’s indiscretion results in devastating economic penalty
In his ruling, Justice Bock concluded that Hallick’s actions breached her fiduciary duty by “taking advantage” of Sportsman’s trust.
Given the lofty amount of stolen funds, Bock equated his ruling to a “life sentence,” in economic terms.
“It would take Ms. Hallick over 28,000 hours of work at $15 per hour just to retire the principal amount of her judgment debt,” he said. “Given the difficult personal circumstances that seem to have contributed to Ms. Hallick’s current situation, this seems cruel, and one hopes others may take the same view.”
Despite his reluctance to hand down a judgement of this magnitude, Bock said the fiduciary factor sealed Hallick’s fate.
Hallick is currently facing charges on one count of theft over $5,000 in connection with the stolen lottery tickets. The charges remain pending, per Bock.