British Columbia

Former B.C. official sentenced in health care scam

A former B.C. bureaucrat with the Fraser Health Authority has been handed house arrest, probation and a $2,000 fine after pleading guilty to in a government-connected corruption scandal.

A former B.C. bureaucrat with the Fraser Health Authority has been handed a one-year conditional sentence that includes house arrest, probation and a $2,000 fine after pleading guilty in a government-connected corruption scandal.

James Roy Taylor, 64, is the last of three men convicted in a scheme linked to a lucrative B.C. government plan to computerize health-care records.

Taylor was in court Tuesday as the Crown and defence provided a joint submission that called for a one-year conditional sentence which provincial court judge Adrian Brooks said he would impose, but not before calling Taylor's offence a "grave one with a corrosive effect."

Taylor originally faced four corruption-related charges, but pleaded guilty to one count of accepting benefits, rewards and advantages connected to his wife's job and free accommodation at a Kelowna, B.C., condominium.

The court heard that Taylor, the former manager of network services at the Fraser Health Authority, allowed his wife to be hired, without proper government consent, to work for a private company that was doing business with Taylor's branch of the health authority.

Janice Taylor was paid more than $260,000 to work for Dr. Jonathan Burns, who was marketing an Internet imaging device to the Fraser Health Authority that allowed nurses and doctors make medical decisions over distances.

Brooks said a mitigating factor in Taylor's sentence was that his wife, a registered nurse with a Masters of Business, was qualified to do the work she was hired to do.

Taylor did not speak during his court appearance.

Burns, a former Abbotsford emergency room doctor, pleaded guilty earlier this year to paying a reward and providing an advantage to government officials. He received a suspended sentence.

He owned the Kelowna condominium where Taylor stayed for several days. Taylor was ordered to pay restitution of $2,000 to the Fraser Health Authority as fair market value for his stay at the condominium.

Third man sentenced in July

Taylor, who had a previous fraud conviction, will serve half his sentence in the community and the other half under house arrest, which keeps him at home from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m.

Former assistant deputy health minister Ron Danderfer was sentenced in July to two years probation and fined $3,690 after pleading guilty to breach of trust charges for his part in the scheme.

Last March, Taylor, Danderfer and Burns were part of an RCMP fraud and breach of trust investigation that resulted in 16 charges.

Burns faced eight charges and Danderfer faced four charges.

Danderfer was in charge of the B.C. government's program to computerize health records, known as e-health.

The Liberals have estimated the cost of its e-health projects at about $200 million, although the Opposition New Democrats claim it could be more than double that.

Danderfer was removed from his position in 2007 and retired that fall after 35 years in the public service.

Burns was a major consultant on e-health. He convinced the province's health authorities to use his company, WebMed, to test its electronic device that helped make medical diagnosis across distances.