Sentenced to 30 months for  million fraud |  Barely released, a scammer can already get into business

Sentenced to 30 months for $5 million fraud | Barely released, a scammer can already get into business

A former IT consultant who was sentenced to 30 months in prison last January for his part in a massive $5 million scam at the expense of the city of Montreal is back to starting a business less than two months after receiving his release has a sixth of his conditional sentence.

Posted at 6:00 am


Louis Samuel Perron

Louis Samuel Perron The Press

Benoit Bissonnette found himself behind bars after an endless legal saga. In fact, the 60-year-old admitted his guilt at his third trial last November, 15 years after the crime. He had been acquitted at his first trial, and his second trial had failed.

In the late 2000s, the former computer consultant conspired with Montreal city official Gilles Parent to embezzle millions of dollars in public funds. Benoit Bissonnette and his accomplice set up a nominee company to hide the stolen funds in Hong Kong.

“Willing Blindness”

Her company, FORTÉ, thus appropriated $3.5 million by “pre-billing” the city for non-existent services and creating fictional characters to be paid for by the city. Another fraudulent scheme also made it possible to acquire $750,000. The perpetrator admitted to having displayed “willful blindness”. […] close his eyes” when he reached an agreement with Gilles Parent. In 2012 he was sentenced to six years in prison.

Benoit Bissonnette got off lightly with a 30-month prison sentence. In fact, Judge Mario Longpré would have imposed a “much harsher” sentence on him. […] in view of [sa] high moral guilt and aggravating factors”. However, the judge was bound by the joint proposal of the attorneys.

The former aide didn’t stay in prison for long as the Parole Board of Canada granted him his day parole last June, five months after his conviction. Under the conditions imposed, he was then prohibited from pursuing self-employment or owning a company.

However, less than two months after its introduction, the Commission has already withdrawn this special condition in a decision of 2 August. In her opinion, this condition is not “reasonable and necessary” because Benoit Bissonnette’s finances are already being monitored thanks to another condition.

Horrifying Judgment

“Certainly the crimes committed are very serious, but the verdict appears to have been chilling and the crimes temporary. Almost fifteen years have passed since then and nothing on your file indicates that you have not complied with your obligations as a self-employed person,” the Commission claims. Benoit Bissonnette was also self-employed during the trial (from 2009 to 2021).

However, Benoit Bissonnette’s case management team had a different opinion. According to officials overseeing his return to work, he should demonstrate “clinical progress” and better understand his “criminal dynamics” before resuming self-employment.

The perpetrator always attaches great importance to “social success, money and appearance,” agrees the commission.