Nova Scotia

Frank Anderson forged document sentence mulled by judge

Frank Anderson, the former head of the South West Shore Development Authority, was not sentenced Wednesday after pleading guilty to a charge of uttering forged documents earlier this year.

Crown argues for house arrest for former development authority CEO; defence asks for leniency

An audit firm hired by the Nova Scotia government found serious deficiencies at the South West Shore Development Authority. The report criticized the way CEO Frank Anderson's organization was run. (SWSDA)

A judge has reserved his decision on the sentence for the former head of the South West Shore Development Authority who pleaded guilty earlier this year to a charge of uttering a forged document.

On Wednesday, the Crown argued that Frank Anderson, 65, should be handed a 12-month sentence, consisting of four months of house arrest, four months of curfew and four months of probation.

The defence is calling for a conditional discharge.

"If anyone deserves leniency from the courts, it's someone like Mr. Anderson," said defence lawyer Don Presse.

"He did it because of his love for the community. It wasn't for his personal gain."

The Crown says Anderson received 29 letters of support from locals who lost money because of his actions, including a doctor, a former mayor, a practising lawyer and the owner of a fast food chain.

Anderson told the court he did not benefit financially from his crime. He said he never should have falsified documents, but thought the development authority would get provincial government help, allowing it to repay the businesses it owed money. 

Anderson was the head of the South West Shore Development Authority when it was shut down in June 2010 and sought restructuring under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act six months later, leaving dozens of businesses on the hook for more than $2 million.

The provincial Department of Economic and Rural Development referred the matter to police last year after an independent forensic audit said there were problems with expense claims submitted by Anderson.

The audit, conducted by Ernst & Young, said Anderson told auditors that the provincial government and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency knew the development authority was having cash flow problems and were aware that not all invoices had been paid.

The audit also said the authority lost money every year between 2003 and 2010, except 2008 when it received $1.8 million for the sale of a former naval base.

Anderson still faces multiple charges of uttering forged documents and fraud, but those charges are expected to be dismissed when he is sentenced.