Telus suing ex-employee for putting $180K on company credit card for personal expenses

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Telus Communications Inc. is suing Victoria resident Lisa Ballinger, a former senior manager the company fired in April 2019, over $180,000 in unauthorized corporate credit card charges that allegedly went to personal expenses including tuition at pricey private schools.

Telus filed a notice of civil claim in BC Supreme Court on September 13. The company claims Ballinger started out as a senior marketing manager in May 2016, then became an account manager and later a client service manager. Ballinger was provided with a corporate credit card in her roles, and, according to the company’s expense policy, “employees are not permitted to use Telus corporate credit cards for personal use under any circumstances.”

Ballinger allegedly began using the corporate card for personal expenses in June 2016, including paying tuition at two private schools in Victoria, travel expenses, car rentals, hotels, clothing, car maintenance, groceries, gardening services and dry cleaning. Telus claims it’s unclear how much exactly Ballinger allegedly took, but “a preliminary investigation conducted by Telus suggests that the Misappropriated Amounts total more than $180,000.”

In March 2019, the company discovered that Ballinger had left drafts of “unreconciled expenses” in its reporting and approval system, suppressing them in an “uncleared state” to allegedly avoid detection. The discovery prompted an investigation by the company’s corporate security team, according to the claim.

“Upon clearing these expenses, Telus discovered a significant number of unapproved and unreconciled expenses incurred by Ballinger that were apparently for personal use. Some of these expenses had also been incurred after February 2019, when Ballinger was off work on sick leave,” the claim states. “As part of this investigation, Telus interviewed Ballinger, who was unable to explain the Misappropriated Amounts.”

Telus claims Ballinger was fired in April 2019 for cause after allegedly admitting that some of the expenses were personal and agreed to repay the amounts.

“TELUS also made multiple demands for repayment of the Misappropriated Amounts,” the claim states. “To date, TELUS has not received any amount in repayment.”

According to Ballinger’s LinkedIn profile, she works at United Way of Greater Victoria as a donor relations adviser for legacy giving. The allegations against Ballinger, who did not respond to BIV’s request for comment, are untested and unproven in court and she had not filed a response to the lawsuit by press time.