Cop's $130K of 'unknown income' surfaces during corruption trial

A Hamilton police officer who is facing corruption and drug trafficking charges somehow had over $130,000 of income over a four-and-a-half year period that couldn't be explained, court heard Wednesday.

Det. Const. Craig Ruthowsky's income rose by at least $25K a year, court heard

Det. Const. Craig Ruthowsky of Hamilton police faces charges including cocaine trafficking and bribery. (Pam Davies)

A Hamilton police officer who is facing corruption and drug trafficking charges somehow had over $130,000 of income over a four-and-a-half year period that couldn't be explained, court heard Wednesday.

Det. Const. Craig Ruthowsky's trial entered its third day, as expert forensic accountant Lisa Robyn Majeau Gordon was in the witness box to talk about the Ruthowsky family's finances.

She testified that from Jan. 11, 2011 to June 5, 2015, the Ruthowskys netted $130,012 in "income from unknown sources."

"There was more spending out of the bank accounts than known income over that period of time, and by quite a bit," Majeau Gordon said.

The Crown contends that Ruthowsky was working with the criminals he was supposed to be investigating, in exchange for a monthly payout of $20,000.

Ruthowsky, 44, has pleaded not guilty in Superior Court in Toronto to charges of bribery, attempting to obstruct justice, trafficking cocaine, criminal breach of trust, and conspiring to traffic marijuana.

Majeau Gordon said that the Ruthowsky family's average annual income of $108,779 was under the family's average annual spending of $124,961 — meaning the family would be about $16,183 in the hole, each year.

About 96 per cent of the family's annual income from known sources came from wages from the Hamilton Police Service.

Both Ruthowsky and his wife, Christine, are Hamilton police officers.

In cross examination, defence lawyer Greg Lafontaine suggested that Ruthowsky could have been doing cash jobs for putting in pools for other police officers in the city. He could also have made money doing cash construction jobs, Lafontaine said.

"It would have to be in cash," Majeau Gordon said.

"That may go some distance to explain what you called unexplained funds coming in, right?" Lafontaine asked.

"Yes," she said.

Majeau Gordon also ran through the purchases Ruthowsky made during the time that he's alleged to have been paid off by a drug dealer:

  • A 2012 Ford F-150 worth $26,713.
  • A KTM 500 dirtbike worth $11,871.
  • A deposit on a condo project in Oakville worth $36,799.
  • A deposit on Hamilton's now-defunct The Connolly condo project, worth $22,900.

In court's morning session, Det. Travis Clark, who was one of the heads of Toronto police's major projects section, returned to the witness box to finish his testimony about wiretapped conversations that Ruthowsky was heard having with a known drug dealer.

In cross-examination, Ruthowsky's lawyer tried to hammer home the fact that Ruthowsky did not explicitly tip off the dealer the the cops were monitoring him in that conversation.

"He doesn't say hide your phones. He doesn't say hide your drugs," Lafontaine said. "Correct," Clark responded.

Ruthowsky did, however, mention a "part six" — which is a type of investigation that exclusively deals with the wiretapping of phones.

"That, to any person, would be implying be careful on your phones … the destruction of evidence," Clark said.

adam.carter@cbc.ca

About the Author

Adam Carter

Reporter, CBC Hamilton

Adam Carter is a Newfoundlander who now calls Hamilton home. He enjoys a good story and playing loud music in dank bars. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamCarterCBC or drop him an email at adam.carter@cbc.ca.