The trial for a Thunder Bay woman who faces charges of defrauding the Port Arthur Polish Alliance Branch #19 of $90,000 has begun.
Police charged Krystyna Dolasinski with fraud and theft exceeding $5,000 and falsifying documents between Dec. 1 2004 and Sept. 30, 2006.
Crown attorney Gordon Fillmore laid out a road map of where they anticipated the evidence to lead during his opening submission to the jury of nine women and three men Tuesday morning at the Superior Court of Justice.
Fillmore outlined the revenue streams for the Polish Alliance and the Port Arthur Polish Hall Ltd.; the two organizations run conjointly and bring in money through hall rentals, catering, membership fees and perogie sales, which includes the sales of other food items like cabbage rolls and meatballs.
The court heard that Dolasinski began working for the Polish Hall as the financial secretary, or office manager, in early 2000. She was responsible for money for the hall and the alliance during her tenure.
The Crown said through witness testimony the jurors will hear that perogie sales were successful for the Polish Alliance - they brought in $40,000 to $50,000 per year – and that members of the executive were surprised when Dolasinski reported there would be a significant shortfall from sales in January 2006.
Fillmore said the Polish Hall had trouble paying utility bills in the summer of 2006. The executive asked questions about what happened and Dolasinski resigned from the hall.
He said testimony will show that after examining the books, hall employees discovered discrepancies and that large amounts of cash were missing from reserve funds.
The evidence will show the misappropriation of money through the writing of cheques and that there were missing membership fees, he said.
Dolasinski’s lawyer Chris Watkins said she’s being used as a scapegoat and that the funds were misappropriated by a member of the hall’s upper management.
Watkins said Dolasinski’s work experience before working at the Polish Hall was in retail and bartending. She relied on the Alliance presidents to guide her and had no problems under the first two presidents she worked for.
The trial continues Wednesday.