Canada

Former Quebec MP, wife get 18 months for fraud

Posted: June 22, 2005
Last Updated: June 22, 2005

A former Progressive Conservative and Bloc Québécois MP from Montreal and his wife have been sentenced to 18 months in jail for conspiracy and fraud.

Gilbert Chartrand, 50, and Carole Lambert, 56, were found guilty in April of defrauding their boss, Swiss businessman Seymour Jacobson.

The pair had used $750,000 of Jacobson's money to take out a mortgage on property they didn't own.

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The couple used the money to create what Quebec Judge Serge Boisvert referred to as a luxurious lifestyle for themselves, including a condominium and a home in the Laurentians.

The couple's total property holdings are worth about $1.7 million.

They sheltered their properties in the Laurentians by creating shell companies in the Cayman Islands.

Then they tried to set up a trust for their children, also to protect the properties.

Chartrand and Lambert were driven by an insatiable appetite for wealth and possessions, Boisvert said as he sentenced them Wednesday.

Jail time instead of community sentence

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Neither husband nor wife reacted to the verdict of 18 months in prison.

The judge rejected the defence recommendation that they be allowed to serve their sentence in the community, saying it would be ironic to allow them to live in the house they bought with other people's money.

Chartrand was elected as a Progressive Conservative MP under Brian Mulroney's leadership in the 1980s.

In May 1990, after the failure of the Meech Lake Accord, he left the Tory party and sat as an Independent.

He then became a founding member of the separatist Bloc Québécois.