RCMP alleges Pamela Wallin committed fraud, breach of trust - Macleans.ca

RCMP alleges Pamela Wallin committed fraud, breach of trust

The latest twist in the roller-coaster Senate expense scandal


OTTAWA – Sen. Pamela Wallin committed fraud and breach of trust by filing fraudulent expense claims, RCMP investigators allege in court documents released Friday — the latest twist in the roller-coaster Senate expense scandal.

The allegations are spelled out by investigators in documents authorizing a production order — a binding court document aimed at compelling the Senate and its auditors to hand over material related to the police investigation.

In particular, the Mounties have asked for several versions of Wallin’s electronic Senate calendar, saying the calendars could provide further evidence to back up the allegations.

Wallin has not been charged with an offence, nor have the allegations been proven in court.

The investigation and subsequent allegations relate to a Deloitte audit that flagged more than $140,000 in questionable travel expenses Wallin claimed between Jan. 1, 2009, and Sept. 30, 2012 — expenses she has since paid back.

In the court filings, RCMP Const. Michael Johnson said there are reasonable grounds to believe that two offences have been committed.

The documents allege Wallin “did commit breach of trust in connection with the duties of office” and “by deceit, falsehood or other fraudulent means defrauded the Senate of Canada of money by filing inappropriate expense claims,” contrary to the Criminal Code.

In addition to the calendars, the police also want to see all of Wallin’s travel expense claims between Jan. 9 and Sept. 30 this year.

They’re also requesting billing statements from her corporate and personal credit cards, statements for her Senate-supplied cell phones and all recordings and notes from Deloitte interviews conducted during their audit.

The latest twist comes with the Senate mired in a politically explosive debate about whether Wallin and fellow former Conservative senators Mike Duffy and Patrick Brazeau should be suspended without pay over their disallowed expense claims.

In his request for a production order, Johnson points to several instances where Wallin submitted expense claims for travel to events in Toronto. But many of the timelines included in her electronic calendar submissions don’t add up, he alleges.

Accounting firm Deloitte, hired to review Wallin’s expense claims, noted that there were three versions of her calendar, and that entries had been altered more than 391 times.

After reviewing the Deloitte audit findings, Johnson told the court that Wallin spent most of her time in Toronto, despite declaring Wadena, Sask., as her “primary residence.”

One travel claim highlighted in the documents showed her flying from Ottawa to Toronto on June 4, 2009, for “Senate business.” Wallin later told investigators the flight was to attend the Institute of Corporate Directors Fellowship Awards.

But the awards gala was scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. that day. Wallin’s flight didn’t arrive in Toronto until 9:05 p.m. Investigators also found, as part of Wallin’s travel claim, a car service invoice indicating the senator was driven that day from “airport to home.”

Wallin — who initially described the Deloitte audit as “fundamentally flawed and unfair” — has accused some fellow senators of succumbing to a “lynch mob” mentality in trying to suspend her.

In her Oct. 23 speech to the Senate, Wallin admitted to having made mistakes in her expenses filings. “When we found mistakes, we acknowledged them and I repaid the amounts immediately,” she said.

She also said she co-operated fully with the outside auditors.

“My assistant and I worked night and day verifying timelines, searching out supporting documentation for each and every event — and there were many.”

Wallin said the whole proceeding against her, including the bid to suspend her, is a result of backroom politics. “It is, as my lawyer said, Kafkaesque.”

The independent audit cleared her name, she insisted, but the attacks carried on.

“Just to be clear, when asked, Deloitte said there was no evidence of deliberate misrepresentation or fraud or fiddling with the books, as the media had reported,” she said.

“They spoke with former staff members who agreed, and by their own admission, Deloitte conceded they had no standard by which to judge my activities.”

The latest batch of documents shows investigators interviewed Marjory LeBreton, the former leader of the government in the Senate, in late September.

During the interview, LeBreton told investigators that she felt Wallin “has a sense of entitlement,” but that she didn’t believe that Wallin tried to scam the system or that she had committed any criminal offence.

A month after the interview, Wallin stood in the Senate and accused LeBreton _ and fellow Conservative Carolyn Stewart Olsen _ of resenting her for being “an activist senator.”

Investigators also questioned the Senate’s director of finance, Nicole Proulx.

She told them that concerns about Wallin’s expense claims had been raised as early as 2009, and that she and Senate clerk Gary O’Brien had spoken with Wallin about the claims on several occasions.

A more “serious” discussion with Wallin took place in January 2012, where Proulx and O’Brien warned her about complying with Senate policy, the documents say.

One incident highlighted in the documents was a travel expense claim submitted by Wallin for travel to Trenton, Ont., on April 30, 2011, where she was to participate as a member of a political panel to comment on election results.

But a subsequent audit by Deloitte found the event was actually a Conservative party rally, and the expense was deemed by Proulx as “not legitimate.”

The documents also show Proulx told investigators that several expense claims submitted by Wallin for car service were rejected in 2010 by Senate Finance — but that the decision was reversed by the Senate’s board of internal economy after Wallin complained.

The court filings also spell out in detail the Senate’s rules for filing expense claims.

One section cited stipulates that senators may not claim reimbursement for expenses related to their private business dealings, or for participating in partisan political party activities or fundraising events, other than those organized by the Senate.



RCMP alleges Pamela Wallin committed fraud, breach of trust

  1. Let’s hear some more from the Liberals about how Wallin deserves “due process” before we cut her off of the public dime. Please, continue to defend these thieves Mr. Trudeau!

    • Due process – where everything comes out – the thing Harper’s been trying to prevent all along.

      • Once the RCMP became involved then Harper’s hands were tied. Without question, everything is going to come out. Suspending the senators without pay is a move to spin things more positively and please Canadians who don’t want these senators continuing to collect taxpayer money. What really angers people is the thought that the three of them could end up qualifying for a generous pension while we the injured parties wait around for the RCMP to learn the exact extend of their perfidy.

        • Con spin – you’re too smart to fall for it, surely. The determination of guilt has to be found in the courts. And then the Senate has the right to expel them.

    • And please stop appointing these thieves, Mr Harper!

      • as Justin might say… that is the root cause of this problem

    • This is all a misunderstanding. Prime Minister Harper checked out her expenses and reported back to Parliament that all was in order.

      • and yes Wallin should voluntarily resign from Senate.

        • and yes if Wallin chooses not to exercise good judgement, then she should be thrown out of the Senate by due process.

          • cause even a Conservative should know that individual rights do not get thrown out just because of public opinion and heresay.

          • unless it is one of those hypocrite pretend conservatives of course.

  2. This announced charge doesn’t have to last past next week. I think this friends, and let me be perfectly clear here, as I’ve said many times before here, in this house, soon to be my unfettered house, by making it an accountability free zone, this is more about making this ominous sounding charge to whip dissenting voices in the senate wet them selves and get back in line, I don’t mean those scallywag Grits I mean the illustrious Tory Harpseal crossed out to become lone wolves a species that no party wants to allow in a closed genetic herd.

  3. Seriously, let’s get to the bottom of this. Who decided that television news readers had the minutest qualifications for any position in government?? And, while I’m at it, since when is the son of a former Prime Minister qualified for anything?? Canadian politics is totally f**ked up. Just sayin’

    • What exactly constitutes “qualifications for a position in government”? I’m a mechanical engineer, my wife’s a travel agent, my father’s a machinist, my mother’s a waitress, my eldest sister’s a book-keeper, and my youngest sister’s a receptionist. I think any of us could easily do better than most politicians simply because we are all honest (some more than others), and we understand the challenges working-class people face.

      Politicians have well-paid jobs where it is perfectly acceptable for them to complete an entire career lacking any notable achievements and mired in scandal. Then when it’s all over, they receive ridiculous pensions.

      Trudeau has two things which make him well qualified. He is connected (which you need to be in order to procure the necessary campaign funding), and he is principled. The only other principled Canadian politicians I saw in my lifetime were Chretien and (Pierre) Trudeau, so they are extremely rare. I say “good luck” to young Justin.

  4. “During the interview, LeBreton told investigators that she felt Wallin
    “has a sense of entitlement,” but that she didn’t believe that Wallin
    tried to scam the system or that she had committed any criminal offence.”

    This is rich coming from LeBreton –she knows her head is next on the block. Her unindicted co-conspirator Tkachuk should be getting the same treatment.

  5. Fraud exists not only in Quebec my Canadian friends! :-)