September 25, 2022

La Ronge Northerner

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30 months in jail for defrauding 5 million | A fraudster can already start a business

A former IT consultant sentenced to 30 months in prison last January for defrauding the city of Montreal of $5 million can reopen a business two months after being paroled for one-sixth of his sentence. sentence.

Published at 6:00 am.

Louis-Samuel Perron

Louis-Samuel Perron
Pres

Benoit Bissonnette finds himself behind bars after an endless legal saga. The 60-year-old pleaded guilty at a third hearing last November, 15 years later. He was acquitted in his first trial, and his second trial failed.

In the late 2000s, a former computer consultant conspired with Montreal city official Gilles Parent to defraud millions of dollars in public funds. Benoit Bissonnette and his accomplice created a nominee company that was used to hide the stolen funds in Hong Kong.

“willful blindness”

Their company, FORTÉ, took over 3.5 million by “pre-invoicing” non-existent services for the city and creating fictitious people to be paid by the city. Another fraud scheme made it possible to obtain $750,000. The accused admitted that he had shown “willful blindness […] He closed his eyes as he reached an agreement with the Gilles parents. He was sentenced to six years in prison in 2012.

So Benoît Bissonnette got off lightly with a 30-month sentence. Indeed, Judge Mario Longpre would have given him a “very severe” sentence. […] consider [sa] High moral culpability and aggravating factors.” However, the judge was bound by the collective advice of the lawyers.

The former consultant didn’t stay in custody long, as the Parole Board of Canada granted him parole last June, five months after his release. Among the conditions imposed, he was barred from being self-employed or running his own business.

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However, less than two months after imposing it, the Commission has already withdrawn this special condition in its decision issued on August 2. According to him, this condition is not “fair and necessary” because Benoît Bissonnette’s finances are covered thanks to another condition already imposed.

Preventive punishment

“Of course, the crimes committed are very serious, but the punishment seems to be arbitrary and the crimes are limited in time. Almost fifteen years have passed since then, and nothing in your file indicates that you did not respect your obligations as a self-employed worker,” the Commission maintains. till 2021) was self-employed.

However, Benoît Bissonnette’s case management team disagreed. According to officials overseeing his reintegration, he must demonstrate “clinical improvement” and better understand his “criminal dynamics” before resuming his activities as a self-employed person.

The perpetrator always places too much importance on “social success, money and appearance”, the commission acknowledges.