A Quebec woman has been sentenced to three years in prison for fraud of nearly $1.8 million that was committed at the CPE where she worked, using the money to fuel a princely lifestyle featuring trips, clothes and vehicles.
Josée Lévesque was appointed to CPE Le Petit Baluchon in 2005, before being named manager.
According to evidence collected as part of an investigation by the Ministry of Family, the fraud occurred from 2008 to 2015. Transfers made to the defendants’ accounts ranged from $1,700 to $3,000.
At first, the woman created “fake babies” who were registered with the CPE, some of whom were even baptized with the name of her children. It received subsidies from the Ministry for these recordings, and then appropriated the amounts. Another scheme consisted of making payments for work done by workers who were no longer employed at CPE.
A beautiful life
The accused took advantage of these sums to live “a good life for those who work in the position you occupy.”
Lots of new clothes, frequent visits to the hairdresser and beautician, excursions, cars, and José Levesque and her husband, also initially targeted with a fallen civil suit, benefited greatly from the lady’s criminal actions. The latter also jealously protected her cash cow, and no one in the office could handle financial information and management tasks.
“She has been responsible for this project that has pushed her to line her pockets all these years and take advantage of an extravagant lifestyle,” described prosecutor Genevieve Lacroix while imposing sentence on the 56-year-old in mid-March.
The rose vase was discovered during one of his trips to the Bahamas. After noticing the missing sums, he is confronted by CPE Director Josée Lévesque, who reassures her by telling her that everything will be settled upon her return. However, the check with the financial institutions that the Consumer Protection Center deals with reveals a large number of questionable transactions and amounts passing through the accounts of the accused.
“The wolf in the sheepfold”
Judge Mario Tremblay accepted the joint proposal of three years’ imprisonment.
But the Crown was clear: the sentence could have been harsher. However, the lady’s lack of prior history and her guilty plea played in her favour.
On the other hand, José Levesque will not be able to hold a volunteer job or assignment where she will be responsible for financial operations or property management for 10 years after her release from detention. Because until very recently, women provided bookkeeping services to about forty companies.
“He’s like a wolf in a sheepfold,” Judge Tremblay said, adding that he doubted someone acting like that could change so quickly. “When you live in lies and betrayal, there is a long way to go.”
“Total coffee aficionado. Travel buff. Music ninja. Bacon nerd. Beeraholic.”
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