At the Victoriaville courthouse Wednesday morning, Chantal Lavigne was sentenced to two years less than a day in prison for cheating on her father, Robert Lavigne, owner of a plumbing business for several years, in amounting to approximately $ 644,000. A fraud that lasted approximately two and a half years between May 18, 2017 and February 6, 2020.
The 50-year-old woman, who has been incarcerated since the sentence was submitted on March 30, has had her 63-day pre-trial detention lifted, so she now serves 666 days in prison (approximately 22 months). ). This crime is punishable by imprisonment of a maximum of 14 years.
During the sentencing observations, the public prosecutor, represented by Me Stéphanie Bergeron, sought a three -year sentence of imprisonment, while on defense, Me Marco Morin pleaded for detention of 12 months.
In her decision, Judge Dominique Slater of the Court of Quebec set out the facts, noting that it all began in 2017 following the death of her mother, who was responsible for managing the company’s finances. Her father, who was little educated and had difficulty reading and writing, then entrusted his daughter with this responsibility.
“Shortly after acquiring this responsibility, the defendant began making unauthorized transactions in his father’s personal and professional accounts. For nearly two and a half years, he set aside the amount of $ 643,499.95, an amount that the court deemed established beyond any reasonable doubt, ”the magistrate pointed out.
Chantal Lavigne used the money “for her personal purposes to cope with a life of luxury, clothing, sightseeing, travel …”.
The complainant, aged 78, himself discovered the fraud in a discussion with an official of his financial institution. Only $ 10,000 left in bank accounts.
A complaint was filed with the Sûreté du Québec. Chantal Lavigne cooperated with police, admitting fraudulent transactions. “He explained his actions by the frustration he felt when he saw the large amount of money his father had. He said he felt injustice because his father did not give him financial support when he was relatively old. prosperous professional life, “the judge said.
So Chantal Lavigne decides to use herself, believing she’s getting “what she deserves”.
“In his meeting with the investigator and the probation officer, he showed no remorse, except for how his father discovered the fraud. He wants to admit his actions himself, “the court president said.
As a result of the fraud, the defendant went bankrupt, his second, the first began in his early twenties.
Referring to the report before the sentence, Justice Slater noted that it specifically featured a trend for luxury and the pursuit of a lifestyle beyond what one could afford. “He also tries to give those around him some material goods and overly expensive gifts. Mismanagement of his assets has led to conflicts, especially with his family, and large debts have led to two bankruptcies, ”he explained.
If he explained his acting through an injustice, claiming he had lost support and describing his family’s environment as disadvantages, the report cites sources of information showing that he received help, even more of his transition to adulthood. “He still developed this view of abduction and avoidance,” the report said. Throughout his life, he had a great deal of resentment towards his family. This allows him to justify his passage in the act. »
In terms of his personality, the report indicates that he shows great concern for the image he is projecting and the opinion of others on him. “Extremely hurt by her life story, Ms. Lavigne acted selfishly and expressed her opportunism by saying that fraud only allowed her to take what was owed to her. Added to this was her desire for greed. , his lack of consideration for others, his ability to deceive, and even let us underline the cruel aspect of the story when he said he wanted to see his father learn. that he had been deceived, ”read the judge, taking the report element.
According to the probation officer, he showed little responsibility, sensitivity to the victim and did not make any connection to his personal difficulties. He is content to explain his actions by his upbringing and his wounds.
The agent, in his report, cited numerous psychological ailments and a stressful current condition that would require immediate help. Deep and long -term psychological work is important about his injuries, he believes.
As for the danger of recidivism, it seems unlikely that such an offense will happen again because it is particularly family -linked.
During the sentencing arguments, Justice Slater recalled, Chantal Lavigne said she attended a dozen psychotherapy sessions in recent months to understand her actions and said she wanted to continue in this direction.
Jurisprudence, the judge pointed out, reiterated on several occasions that the purposes of prosecution and detention must take precedence in cases of substantial fraud, within a certain duration and characterized by breach of trust.
The sentencing range of between 18 months and 3 years typically applies for fraud in excess of $ 500,000.
To justify his decision, the judge notably considered as aggravating factors, the nature and extent of the fraud, its long duration, the deterioration of the plaintiff’s financial situation who lost a large part of his ipon.
The court also ruled that actions, if they may have been impulsive at first, were planned over time. “Defendant conducted several transactions for his personal benefit over several months. However, he did not use any fancy schemes to get his way. He took advantage of his father’s trust in him to earn amounts. of money for him, ”Judge Slater said.
The lack of remorse felt by the accused was another aggravating factor, as was the breach of trust in his father.
Despite the defendant’s full liability and the presence of several aggravating factors, the court also recognized several non-negligent circumstances, including Chantal Lavigne’s speedy appeal of the offense, her cooperation with the police investigation, the absence of the history of judicial and sophisticated procedures, as well as the beginning of awareness with the therapeutic path.
The judge argued that while a prison sentence (more than two years) was not necessary in this case, on the other hand, he considered it important to impose a probation order with follow-up for rehabilitation prosecution. of the accused. “Beyond the disciplinary aspect and the necessary conviction and detention, the court must provide rehabilitation and social reintegration measures. A probation period during which support services will be offered to the accused, specifically in terms of managing emotions, his financial relationship and various aspects of his personality, ”he said.
So Judge Slater imposed three years of probation on him, including the first two years during which he must follow all the directives of his probation officer to resolve his personal problems.
Finally, as a protection of the company, for three years, it shall be prohibited from seeking, accepting or retaining employment or voluntary work in the context in which it exercises or exercises power over real property. , the money or the values of others.