Former OneCard manager committed to trial for fraud
Following a preliminary inquiry that saw nine witnesses testify, former manager of the OneCard office Nick Tomljenovic has been committed to trial for fraud over $5,000.
The preliminary hearing was held Monday through Thursday last week in Kitchener; a total of four employees from Wilfrid Laurier University administration, as well as one former employee, testified.
“A number of Laurier staff were subpoenaed by the crown to testify,” explained dean of students David McMurray, who appeared in court last Wednesday afternoon.
“That’s the law: to be there and to answer whatever questions they ask you to the best of your ability,” he said.
As the OneCard office operates as a student service, it ultimately falls under the dean of students’ office.
McMurray stated that Laurier is not pressing any charges against Tomljenovic, as “the university dealt with the situation, as the employer in an employer-employee situation.”
Assistant vice-president of human resources Allison Rawn would not comment on any specifics of the situation, as such agreements are confidential.
“The only involvement that the university has is that members of administration have been subpoenaed to testify in a pre-hearing and will also likely be subpoenaed to testify in the trial,” said Rawn.
Rawn also declined to comment on why the university did not press charges.
“It’s in a criminal jurisdiction, so this isn’t our initiative,” she said.
The lawyer representing the crown attorney’s office, David Russell, explained that there is a ban on publication regarding any evidence brought forward at the pre-trial inquiry so that it does not interfere with the trial.
Because Tomljenovic was committed to trial, his next court date will be on Feb. 26. At this time he will be assigned a pre-trial date, as this is now a matter of the Superior court. Russell expects that the pre-trial will take place in the month following assignment court and that he would be “very, very surprised” if it took place earlier than late fall.
Russell explained that cases of fraud over $5,000 have a maximum penalty of 14 years and there is no minimum penalty.
“There is a wide range of options available,” he said.
“It is going to full trial, so it is continuing,” said McMurray.
“It takes a long time to go through these steps and so I guess we’ll just wait for any further input, if any, that they require and be on call and continue to await that outcome.”
McMurray noted that, under the management of director of student services Dan Dawson, there have been a number of changes in the OneCard office since the forensic audit by external auditing firm KPMG came to a close just under two years ago.
Most notably, the position of the OneCard manager now reports to the student services office; Dawson explained that he and the new OneCard manager Richard Godsmark communicate daily, and that they now have a senior technical
“The most significant thing that has occurred is trying to separate the technical management from the customer service marketing aspect of the OneCard office,” said Dawson. “Prior to the change in management, we had a senior manager that was also the senior technical person.
And while Richard [Godsmark] has a high level of technical ability [OneCard/ResNet technical co-ordinator] Andrew [Moase] is positioned as the technical operations person and Richard is the manager of the department,” said Dawson.
Dawson also noted that there has recently been a lot of collaboration with IT and that they are considering further initiatives such as moving the servers into the IT server rooms at Laurier.
“Therefore, the servers won’t be as physically accessible to our frontline employees and it’s just another step in the chain of security and reporting accountability,” said Dawson.
Timeline of extensive forensic audit at the OneCard office
External auditor KPMG is contacted to undergo an extensive audit in the OneCard office.
Nov. 8 is recorded as the date that KPMG becomes “engaged” in the process.
While the dean of students reports that the audit is “standard” and is only underway because no financial audit has ever been conducted for the operation, the manager of residential services states that “unusual activities” within the office are what prompted the investigation to occur.
Manager of the OneCard office Nick Tomljenovic is put on a paid leave of absence; it is believed that the results of the audit will be known “within days.”
No new updates are provided.
Information regarding the audit is not released due to its “sensitive nature” and KPMG follows up on “outstanding items.”
Richard Godsmark begins temporarily working in the office to deal with day-to-day issues.
After nearly four months of investigation, the audit comes to a close on Feb. 28.
No information regarding the contents of the report is released.
University administration assures that the final report provided evidence that no student suffered a loss on his or her OneCard.
It is confirmed that Tomljenovic is no longer an employee of the university and that Godsmark will continue serving as the interim manager.
On April 10, The Cord files a request under the Freedom of Information Act asking for the release of the audit.
The University Information and Privacy Office denies the request.
The Cord files an appeal with the Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC) of Ontario.
The appeal is confirmed by the IPC and the mediation process between The Cord and the university begins.
The mediation process is ongoing and the mediator has several conversations with both parties.
Godsmark is hired as manager of the OneCard office.
On July 29, a mediation conference call takes place between representatives from The Cord, the university and the IPC.
Due to recommendations from the mediator and legal council, The Cord decides not to pursue the appeal and the file is closed on Aug. 10.
The university also eliminates the position of privacy co-ordinator due to re-structuring in the vice-president academic office; the employee who dealt with the FOI is no longer at the university.
The pre-trial inquiry of Tomljenovic takes place between Jan. 25 and 29 in Kitchener. Nine witnesses testify and Tomljenovic is committed for trial on charges of fraud over $5,000.
Feb. 26 is the next scheduled court date for Tomljenovic. He will be assigned a trial date, which will likely take place in late fall 2010.
*All information is based on multiple interviews conducted between November 2007 and February 2010, as well as documentation from the freedom of information request process.