Thunder Bay

Former Kashechewan co-manager sentenced to 3 years plus restitution

The former co-manager of Kashechewan First Nation, who pleaded guilty to fraud in November 2017, was sentenced on Friday and will spend three years in prison.

Giuseppe (Joe) Crupi pleaded guilty to fraud over $5,000 in November of 2017

The former co-manager of Kashechewan First Nation, Giuseppe (Joe) Crupi, is back at the Thunder Bay Courthouse on Friday, January 12, 2018 after pleading guilty to two counts of fraud over $5000. (Erik White/CBC )

The former co-manager of Kashechewan First Nation, who pleaded guilty to fraud in November 2017, was sentenced on Friday to three years in prison.

Giuseppe (Joe) Crupi of Thunder Bay will also pay $656,157 in restitution to the First Nation, equivalent to the amount of federal breakfast program funding that the First Nation lost during Crupi's tenure.

In addition, Crupi was fined $335,000, equivalent to the portion of those funds he is said to have appropriated for his personal use, some of which, the court heard, were used to purchase properties and cars.

He will have ten years from the time of his release from custody to pay the fine and could face additional jail time if he fails to do so without good reason.

Money paid toward the fine will be forwarded to the First Nation to cover the restitution, meaning Crupi's financial obligations total $656,157.

Crupi was charged by the RCMP in September 2016 in connection with transactions that took place between 2007 and 2012.

The diverted money came from the National Child Benefit Reinvestment program and was meant to be used to provide breakfasts for about 400 elementary school children in Kashechewan First Nation.

The court heard only $100,000 of $1.3 million in funding went to providing breakfasts. 

a large-scale fraud and a breach of trust

The judge in the case imposed a sentence that had been jointly proposed by both the crown and defence. 

In doing so, he acknowledge that the crime was a large-scale, multi-layer fraud that represented a breach of trust with the band — which trusted Crupi to make their financial situation better.

He noted the sentence was mitigated by the fact that Crupi had no prior criminal record and signaled early in the process his intent to plead guilty.

"We believe it's the fit sentence," Crown counsel Mark Seebaran said, "It's always sad when these incidents come to light, but they have to be taken seriously."

Crupi spoke briefly in court saying "I am ashamed of all of my actions.  I apologize to everybody for the grief that I have given everybody."