It certainly took a very long time, but justice was indeed served when a jury found 83 years old Jacques Corriveau guilty of 3 charges of fraud recently. It took a decade before Corriveau was charged after being identified as a key figure in a scandalous sponsorship scheme.
A trial came to a close when Corriveau, allegedly the man behind defrauding about $6.5 million worth of cash was found guilty. He used his firm to commit the fraud.
Jacques Dagenais, the Crown prosecutor, thinks that recovering the defrauded sum from Corriveau may not be possible. He shared to reporters that less than $1 million has been found, but this excludes the convicted fellow’s home. Corriveau’s remaining money and home will be confiscated once requests are granted during the sentencing argument.
Corriveau’s crimes occurred during the sponsorship program, a program that was intended to make the federal government’s presence in Quebec be more influential after the No side’s victory in the 1995 sovereignty referendum. At the time, Corriveau was considered to be amongst the highest ranking federal Grits in Quebec and also worked on Chretien’s Liberal leadership campaigns.
The Gomery Commission found out about the fraud after looking into the program and saw firms winning contracts with little work being done. It turned out that they were winning contracts based on donations to federal Liberals.
In a 2005 inquiry, Corriveau stated that he is innocent. Justice John Gomery made it quite clear that he suspects Corriveau is more involved than he claims to be and he said so in his report.
According to Dagenais, this conviction marks the end of the cases related to the sponsorship scandal. He says, “this is the last chapter” and that “the book is closed”.
Dagenais further shared that being judged by a jury played a huge role in Corriveau’s conviction. The accused did not testify during this trial.
Corriveau’s lawyer Gerald Souliere wouldn’t share what he would ask for his client during the sentencing argument, but Dagenais has some ideas. However, he said that he’ll reserve that for the court as he knows there are not many crimes that do not result in imprisonment.
Souliere shared that his client is very affected by the verdict, more so that he’s already in his 80s.
The defence countered the key witnesses’ statements during the trial, saying that their testimonies failed to prove how Corriveau used his position to influence the outcome of any contracts. He didn’t share any statements regarding Corriveau’s then alleged falsification of documents.
During the trial, Quebec Superior Court Justice Jean-Francois Buffoni reportedly told the jury that they will have to be able to conclude that Corriveau deliberately used his influence to gain $6.5 million if they want to convict him.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale shared his general thoughts about the developments in fraud cases. He said that the law is the law and that nobody is above the law. We couldn’t agree more.
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