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Already convicted on fraud and theft charges |  Fraud of more than $100,000: Accountant guilty again

Already convicted on fraud and theft charges | Fraud of more than $100,000: Accountant guilty again

A fraudster at the head of a Laval accounting firm was convicted Tuesday of defrauding a client of more than $100,000 by pretending to pay tax authorities while she was lining her own pockets. Having already been convicted of theft and fraud, Nathalie Rate continues to provide her accounting services to entrepreneurs.

“Mobile and available, I work for you and with you. My deepest desire is to help entrepreneurs in Laval and Montreal,” Nathalie Rate boasts on the website of her company SOS Entrepreneurs, where she describes herself as an accounting consultant.

The 60-year-old Plainville resident, however, doesn't brag much about her criminal history: In 2017, she pleaded guilty to robbery charges and was given an eight-month suspended sentence and placed on probation for two years. Then, last November, in Montreal, Nathalie Rate pleaded guilty to one count of fraud. His sentence has not yet been imposed.

The fraudster was also convicted in 2021 of illegally practicing public accounting. Nathalie Rate is not a member of the Association of Certified Public Accountants of Quebec. Note that “accountant” is not a reserved title, just CPA.

On Monday afternoon, Nathalie Rate expressed hope of an acquittal at the end of her trial in another fraud case. However, Judge Claude Leblond convicted her, despite the victim's lack of reliability and credibility. She now faces prison.

In this case, the accountant handled the finances of a Montreal bar owner between 2015 and 2017. He had “complete confidence” in Nathalie Rate.

For several years, the fraudster led her client to believe that the checks he signed were intended for tax authorities. However, she instead deposited it into the coffers of her company, Fidem, and then withdrew similar funds.

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During the trial, the defense tried to prove that Nathalie Rate had received more than $100,000 in fees in the case because her client wanted to pay as little in taxes as possible.

“If the accused had the complainant’s tax interests in mind to such an extent, how come we do not see anywhere invoices, invoice numbers or references to fees or procedures so that her client can deduct these amounts? », Judge LeBlond asked.

The judge explained that it was possible, however, to sign some of the checks that were placed as evidence for payment of the fees.

Natalie Rate's scheme coincides with the deposit of $525,000 – the proceeds from the sale of the bar – into the victim's bank account. “This is the defendant’s motive,” the judge decides.

Judgments will be submitted in the coming months.

MH Denis Trottier represents the Public Prosecutor, while MH Roxanne Hamlin defended the fraudster.