Long-time employee bilks his firm over and over, surprised when fired

Gabriel v. Cargill Ltd., 2003 CarswellSask 730 (Sask. Q.B.)

Gary Gabriel was the elevator manager at Cargill Ltd., a company that bought and sold grain and fertilizer in Moose Jaw, Sask. At the time of his dismissal, he was earning $74,000 per year. He had been with Cargill for 26 years.

In 1999 Cargill got wind of a rumour that some employees were committing fraud. They investigated, and one employee — Gordon Clark — confessed to having “diverted” $10,000 by taking money from customers and later issuing a return for merchandise that had never been returned. Clarke implicated Gabriel in his confession, stating he’d also been diverting funds for years.

Gabriel later signed a confession, admitting to taking $2,000 over seven years in cash diversions. He justified it by saying he had put in “lots of overtime.”

Gabriel also admitted to changing the grade on certain loads of durum, from No. 1 grade to 140, resulting in a $7,000 overpayment credit for the customer. In turn the customer gave Gabriel a 1996 Polaris ATV 400 which Gabriel kept in the Cargill maintenance shed. He said he intended it to be used for work at the Moose Jaw elevator and he did it because he knew Cargill would never have authorized the expense.

Gabriel later said he was pressured into making his confession and that he really didn’t read it closely, despite having initialed each page. He said he was “really some upset already then and I just didn’t pay attention, but I signed it and got out of there.” He assumed the situation would be dealt with internally, with him paying back the money and keeping his job.

In November Gabriel phoned two Cargill executives to plead for his job. One of them asked him if he’d done anything else to the company, and he confessed to having sold some surplus fertilizer and taking most of the profit.

The court dismissed Gabriel’s appeal, stating Cargill was justified in firing Gabriel. It said his dishonesty “destroyed the element of trust that was a prerequisite of his continued employment. ”

Latest stories