August 11, 2016 - 11:30 AM
'IT'S JUST SO EASY TO DO.'
KAMLOOPS - A Kamloops man will have to pay thousands of dollars back to the government after misreporting his income and employment status.
Donald Connolly, 45, says he regrets his decision but the temptation to get easy money from employment insurance was too great.
Connolly pleaded guilty to seven counts of making false representations in Kamloops Provincial Court today, Aug. 11.
Crown prosecutor Anthony Veresi told the court Connolly was working for Kamloops Wire Products from February 2010 to August 2013. During his employment Connolly was laid off and rehired several times.
Court heard Connolly would apply for and receive EI benefits every time he was laid off. In some cases Connolly would inform EI he was making less than he actually was. In other cases he would tell EI he wasn't working when he was.
Connolly defrauded the system out of $9,392 between June 2012 until the end of his employment in August 2013. His gross income between January 2012 and August 2013 was more than $27,000, Veresi told the court.
When Justice Christopher Cleaveley asked the accused why he committed the fraud on taxpayers, Connolley replied, "It's just so easy to do."
Veresi asked for a fine of $14,000, 42 hours of community service and one year of probation for Connolley.
"Many persons pay into the system and never collect," Veresi said.
Cleaveley said although the factors of denunciation and deterrence are key, but a $14,000 fine was too big of a price tag.
"The government will claw back this $9,000 in some fashion," Cleaveley said. "It's not often we impose fines of $14,000."
Connolly is currently working as a labourer for a concrete company making about $2,800 a month.
Cleaveley ruled he would have to pay a $7,000 fine, with no probation or community service.
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