One of the founders of the Escapade Music Festival, who stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from a safe after a two-day music festival in 2012, was found guilty of theft on Monday and received a suspended sentence.
Nicholas Guindon-Vachon pleaded not guilty but agreed to all of the facts laid out by the Crown. He was then found guilty by a judge.
The judge handed down a suspended sentence of one year of probation, and Guindon-Vachon was ordered to pay back $300,000 to his former business partners at DNA Presents. He was also ordered not to communicate with them for a year.
In July of 2012, after a two-day electronic music festival, Guindon-Vachon's business partners opened a safe and discovered that about $600,000 in ticket sale revenues were missing.
At the time, police told CBC News someone associated with the festival watched Guindon-Vachon get into a rented white GMC Yukon at about 5:15 a.m. after the festival, carrying a large box.
The vehicle was later discovered in a parking lot at Montreal's Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport. A warrant for Guindon-Vachon's arrest was issued and he was arrested by Aruban police in August 2012.
Took private $40K charter to Aruba
Court heard that Guindon-Vachon paid $40,000 for a private charter to fly him to Aruba, claiming to the owner that he was delivering $160,000 in payments to his ex-wife. He later admitted to police that he had lied.
Once in Aruba, he bought a vehicle for $15,000, rented a luxury home and bought furniture. He had planned to hide out in Aruba for eight years, court heard.
When police tracked him down they found a safe in the rental home with cash, bundled in the same manner as the cash stolen from the festival site.
Guindon-Vachon told police there were third-party participants in the theft but later retracted the statement. He also said drug dealers, who wanted to sell drugs at the festival, tried to "shake him down" for $200,000, a statement he later recanted.
He also admitted to authorities in Aruba that he had taken the money, court heard.
Some of the stolen money was recovered, and Guindon-Vachon's former partners sold his recently-bought assets.
Guindon-Vachon said in court that he has no immediate prospects for employment.