The House of Commons will vote today on a bill that is intended to abolish accelerated parole, a law that has allowed fraudsters and Ponzi scheme devotees to serve only one-sixth of their sentences before they are eligible for parole.
Stung by the massive fraud committed in Quebec by Norbourg founder and CEO Vincent LaCroix, the Bloc rarely sees eye-to-eye with government, however, Mr. LaCroix’s early parole is a significant motivating factor.
LaCroix ran a trust fund company that ripped off 9200 Quebec investors before it ceased operations in 2005. A year later Mr. LaCroix filed for personal bankruptcy. The investigation that followed revealed a pattern of funds diverted to LaCroix’s personal coffers, with false receipts and fraudulent reports.
Convicted of securities violations, Mr. LaCroix was sentenced to five years in prison but served less than two years. The securities hearing was followed in January 2008 by a 58 day criminal trial where he was convicted of 51 charges and sentenced to 12 years in prison and a $255,000.00 fine. The sentence was reduced on appeal to five years.
In June 2008 a further 922 charges of fraud, conspiracy and money laundering were levied against Mr. LaCroix and six others, including a high-level public servant. LaCroix plead guilty and received a 13 year prison sentence to run consecutively with his earlier punishment.
Now living in a Montreal half-way house, LaCroix served one-sixth of his sentence. His victims are outraged although their anger was slightly assuaged when they learned that each of them would be fully reimbursed for their losses.
LaCroix will be free to leave the half-way house when he has served one-third of his sentence.
Prime Minister Harper campaigned on criminal justice issues and will likely bring forward further legislation to advance his Conservative agenda. His parole bill once passed in the House of Commons will go to Canada’s Conservative-majority Senate for approval.
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang