$19,000 fine and house arrest for Lake Country man who defrauded EI | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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$19,000 fine and house arrest for Lake Country man who defrauded EI

Stanley Virgint
Image Credit: FACEBOOK: Stanley Virgint

A Lake Country man who claimed $19,000 in employment insurance payments when he was already making a decent salary will spend a month under house arrest and pay a $19,000 fine.

Stanley Ian Roderick Virgint pleaded guilty to 10 counts of employment insurance fraud at the Kelowna courthouse, June 24.

"He made 10 fraudulent claims when he was earning a very good income," BC Supreme Court Justice Lisa Wyatt said.

The court heard how Virgint had earned $92,450 working as a driller in the oil fields while also claiming employment insurance.

The case dates back to 2018 when he was laid off from his job. He submitted an employment insurance claim but was rehired just a few weeks later.

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However, he continued to call the government's automatic phone system every two weeks to report.

"On each of those reports, he answered 'no' as to whether he'd received any wages," Crown prosecutor Nicholas Ellson told the court.

"Employment Insurance is a social safety net used by millions of Canadians and it's a system that relies on honest self-reporting, when people defraud the system, it costs all Canadians," the Crown said.

After making false claims for around nine months, Virgint was charged with 19 counts of making a false insurance claim.

It's also not the first time he's done it.

The court heard how he had been caught on nine separate occasions for claiming employment insurance while working. Each case had led to him having to pay the money back, but he had not been criminally charged.

This time was different as the RCMP showed up at his door and arrested him.

"It's been embarrassing for him," defence lawyer Joe Killoran said describing it as a "humiliating experience."

The 44-year-old is the family breadwinner, lives with wife and three children and has no criminal record.

"Apart from this, he's a pretty regular... worker and dad," Killoran said.

The defence said Virgint had a lot of financial commitments that he had to meet.

The court heard he was paying $400 a month towards the $19,145 he owed the government for the employment insurance con. He has $12,000 left to pay.

The Crown prosecutor said it was no coincidence that the fine submitted to the court was $19,145.

Judge Wyatt clarified that Virgint would have to pay the government back the $19,145 plus pay a $19,145 fine.

"He will have to pay double what he took," the judge said.

Through his lawyer, Virgint apologized for what he had done saying he'd "made a mistake" and was very sorry.

Ultimately, Judge Wyatt accepted a joint submission from the lawyers asking for the fine plus one month of house arrest.

Judge Wyatt said his very early guilty plea was a mitigating factor and gave Virgint one year to pay the fine and ordered him to do 15 hours of community service.

Virgint will also spend one month under house arrest, meaning he'll have to be home each day between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m.

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