Guyanese among two sentenced for bilking Canadian telecoms firm
Ontario, Canada -Two men who pleaded guilty to a $230,000 fraud scheme were handed conditional sentences with house arrest on Wednesday.
Quinton Sharp, 43, formerly of Toronto, and Parmanand Persaud, 41, formerly of Guyana, both admitted to the scheme where they bilked the major telecommunications company, Telus, out of the money.
Sharp was given a 15-month conditional sentence while Persaud received a 12-month conditional sentence.
Both men have a restitution order to pay the money back.
The court heard it was Sharp, a former employee and real estate manager for Telus, who was the instigator in the scheme. He wrote 21 cheques over a length of time drawn off the company’s bank account that was set up to pay for maintenance projects.
Sharp’s neighbour, Persaud, ran a small construction and maintenance business at the time and he would place the cheques through his business account, even though no work was ever done. He would then split the proceeds with Persaud.
The company’s internal investigator informed the Barrie Police Department’s fraud unit and, following a two-month investigation, both men were arrested and released on bail.
In court, defence lawyer Bernard Cugleman explained the men were neighbours and both had problems with gambling and alcohol.
“That was their common bond,” Cugleman said.
However, he insisted Sharp was the ringleader in the scheme who took a 60% kickback and that Persaud, who has never been in trouble before, “went along with it.”
Both men stood before Justice Joe Wilson and apologized for their actions.
“I would like to apologize to the court and to Telus,” said Sharp, insisting he has since turned his life around. “I am trying to get my life back in order.”
“I am very sorry,” Persaud said.
“Shame on both of you,” said the judge.
“It was a terrible thing to do and you knew exactly what was happening. There was a time when you would have received an automatic jail sentence, but the courts have a different approach now.”
Still, the judge seemed sympathetic to the men who let the scheme get out of control because of their alcohol and gambling abuse problems.
“I guess it’s sort of like a snowflake going down a mountain and suddenly starts to turn into an avalanche,” said the judge.
“But it was only a matter of time before you were caught.”
Both men are ordered to remain in their homes, except for employment and necessary appointments, which may include counselling for gambling and alcohol addictions.
Although restitution orders can be made by a criminal court judge as part of a sentence, criminal courts do not enforce the order by going after the money owed to the victim.
If the offender does not pay the amount ordered, the victim must go to through a civil court to pursue civil enforcement methods to collect the money, such as garnishing wages, seizing bank accounts or liens placed on property. (www.thebarrieexaminer.com)