When Joe Fontana was a Liberal MP, back in 2005, he celebrated his son’s wedding. Despite his $260,000/year salary, Joe was in a bit of a “committing fraud” mood, and figured he could save some money.
Determined, Mr. Fontana took the deposit for his son’s wedding venue, and, with his trusty Wite-Out®, erased the date, the event description, and the signature at the bottom. He then scheduled the date a year earlier to 2004, wrote “Reception” in the body, and stuck his signature at the bottom.
Admiring his proud work, he photocopied the document (so that no one would see gobs of Wite-Out all over it), and wrote “ORIGINAL” across the top in blue pen. Realizing he had forgotten the most important part, he took a yellow post-it note, and wrote “misc constituents reception.” Yes, perfect. Everyone would think it was the contract for Ralph Goodale’s constituency event. Nothing could ever go wrong.
All that was left was to sent to the government and expense the document, and, soon, so soon, Fontana would be rolling in $1,700 in government money—approximately what he made in 13 hours of work.
How did we discover this scheme? The government mailed the cheque to the club itself, where Goodale’s event never even happened, leading to the government charging Fontana with fraud and forgery.
Such are the actions to which Fontana admitted during the trial, saying that it was a hectic time with a minority government, and that he forged the document out of convenience. This explanation does not even make a pretense of sense, so don’t worry about not understanding it.
The judge’s comments reflect Judge Bruce Thomas saying ,”I am perplexed. I have long ago abandoned the notion that motive results from a logical cost-benefit analysis,” and the club owner’s testimony, “I disbelieve him” before convicting Fontana of the charges.
Despite his admissions, Fontana insists that he is “shocked” by the verdict, and will be making a statement soon about whether or not he will resign from being Mayor of London, though given the Ontario electorate’s comfort with Liberal scandals, he should keep his position for years to come. The sentencing will be on July 15th, and we’re tentatively predicting “pay back the $1,700 and publicly apologize.”