Kamloops man 'defrauds' EI a third time | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops man 'defrauds' EI a third time

A Kamloops man is facing jail time after he pleaded guilty to misleading the federal government... again.

Donald Edward Connolly, 52, was ordered to pay a $6,000 fine and spend 30 days in jail, but he still hasn't paid the $19,000 in past fines for the same offences.

"It's ended you up in jail now. There's a lot of money you owe and you're starting to learn your lesson," Kamloops provincial court judge Raymond Phillips told Connolly. "Don't do it again."

Connolly pleaded guilty to six counts of misleading the federal government to get employment insurance while he was working. He did not have a lawyer to represent him.

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Federal prosecutor Chris Tait told the court Connolly was laid off in December 2016 until the following April, and he was lawfully getting employment insurance. However, he continued to claim he wasn't working when he started again in April 2017.

He pleaded guilty to the same charges under the Employment Insurance Act in August 2016, which was the first time he was caught. He was fined $1,000 for each count, totaling $7,000.

He pleaded guilty again to intentionally providing false or misleading statements to Service Canada in 2019 to six separate counts, that time with $2,000 for each, along with a conditional sentence order.

Tait cited past court decisions which described the employment insurance program as one based on trust, so it's relatively easy to claim one isn't working and needs money from the federal government.

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However, he said the government later cross references employment records with insurance claims, which is how Connolly was caught again.

Tait said Connolly hasn't paid any of his past fines, as of Dec. 20 when he checked with the federal government. He did say, however, some of Connolly's wages were garnished to make up for falsely claimed benefits.

The $6,000 fine is more than the amount Connolly falsely claimed from federal benefits, which was $5,252 this time around.

"Today's guilty pleas from Mr. Connolly will be the third conviction for the same offence, which is essentially defrauding the government of Canada's employment insurance program," Phillips said.

Now having pleaded guilty to six more, Phillips gave him another $1,000 for each count, along with a 30-day jail sentence, which he will serve on weekends.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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