Champagne wishes

He stole $100 million, and lived like a king. Then it all fell apart.

Champagne wishesThe experts will tell you that most frauds start small—maybe a few hundred bucks pocketed here, a little accounting fudge there—and get gradually bigger over time as the thief warms to the task, and gains confidence. That’s the way it almost always goes.

But Paul Champagne was not your typical fraudster. For one thing, Champagne had no particular expertise in finance. He was a computer engineer, brought in to manage maintenance contracts at Canada’s Department of National Defence in 1992. He was a technical authority, who could tell the bureaucrats how to buy, operate and maintain their computer systems more efficiently, and to save the taxpayer money in the process. For most of his time at DND, he wasn’t even an employee, but an outside contractor. And, up until the day he was fired in 2003, most of his colleagues thought he was doing a great job. Even when he was fired, it was for exceeding his authority in approving contracts that were beyond his position.

His theft wasn’t discovered until shortly thereafter. And what a theft it was: an estimated $100 million embezzled from DND through a phony invoicing scam that ran for just under a decade. Every year he supplemented his $80,000 salary by about $10 million—one of the longest-running and biggest frauds in Canadian history.

Champagne recently sat down with Maclean’s in a small, windowless room at the minimum security Pittsburgh Institution, just outside Kingston, Ont., for his first-ever public interview. He had just passed one year in prison, and was a little less than two months away from his early release date—June 3. He wanted to tell his story. To make it clear that he takes responsibility for what he did, to absolve others who might have been tarnished by it—and yes, to “apologize to the Canadian taxpayer.” But there was a warning, too: stealing that much money from under the nose of the Canadian government was easier than you might imagine, getting away with it for a decade was even easier. And it’s all rooted in the way that government departments reward those who spend their budget, and punish those who do not.

Paul Champagne was hired to clean up a mess, and clean it up he did. It was 1992, and he was an IT specialist with a company called Montreal Engineering. When DND put out the call for someone to help manage the department’s systems maintenance contracts, Champagne’s firm offered his services, and won the mandate. At the time, DND was spending around $227 million a year on more than 2,000 separate contracts. Champagne’s big innovation was to declare that DND would henceforth pay to fix only systems and equipment that were broken. Essentially, he was ripping up a couple thousand extended warranties, and betting that the government would save a bundle. He was right. Maintenance costs soon fell by more than three-quarters, to about $50 million per year. Over the course of the 1990s, Champagne’s simple restructuring saved the government well over $1 billion.

He was a 34-year-old father of three young children making a decent middle-class living, doing contract work for the government. But he quickly became a star. Though he had no financial signing authority, Champagne earned a reputation as the IT guru within Canada’s military bureaucracy, presiding over DND’s sprawling computer infrastructure. That first winter, as the government’s year-end approached, Champagne learned about the games that happen when bureaucrats rush to spend the last of their budgets. What he soon discovered was that bureaucrats live in almost as much fear of under-spending their budgets as they do of overrunning them. Budgets that aren’t spent get cut, and nobody wants their budget cut. Champagne became known as the guy who could spend vast sums quickly. When you had a million bucks that you had to get rid of, he was the guy who could make it disappear—on software upgrades, licences, anything intangible and related to technology that you didn’t need, and didn’t understand anyway. But that very first year he ran into a wall. “I reached a point where I just didn’t have any more I could spend on,” he recalls. “I couldn’t move the money out the door fast enough anymore to meet the goals of the department.”

He came up with a plan. If DND was so desperate to spend money, he thought of a perfect place to stuff it: his pockets.

A fraud investigator would call it a simple fake invoicing scheme—charging DND for work that was never performed. But to a non-criminal it can get a little confusing. And that confusion is what helps fraudsters go undetected.

Champagne set up his own consulting company, and approached another small Ottawa-area engineering firm, RMC Systems. He asked RMC to function as his billing and accounting department for work he was doing for DND. He said his work was secret, dealt with matters of national defence, and he needed someone to process his payments. Meanwhile he approached a much larger DND contractor, Digital Equipment. (It was later acquired by Compaq Computer, which was finally acquired by Hewlett-Packard.) He told officials at Digital Equipment to pay any invoices that come from RMC, and to pass along the costs to him at DND. All of this sounds pretty suspicious, but Champagne assured both RMC and Digital Equipment that it was all part of the department’s streamlining. And besides, both companies would be paid for their trouble. “I can be pretty convincing,” Champagne says now.

So, Champagne submitted fake invoices to RMC. RMC paid Champagne, added a small commission and passed the bill on to Digital Equipment (and later to Compaq, then H-P). The larger company paid RMC, added its own commission and sent the bill to DND. And at DND, Paul Champagne made sure H-P got paid. It was a tidy little money train, with one obscure DND contractor at both the beginning and the end. But nobody at RMC, or Compaq, or H-P ever saw the full picture. Once the ruse was finally exposed, all of the companies claimed that they had been duped, and no one at those firms was ever charged with a crime.

Once the train was on the track, millions of dollars began flowing into Champagne’s account at the Bank of Nova Scotia. “At that point I convinced myself that I was well worth the money,” he says. “I was saving DND $157 million a year, so I said, ‘Okay, I’m probably taking $10 million a year, that’s GST.’ I convinced myself I knew what was best for everybody. They would call it a God complex, I guess.” Pretty soon, the thirtysomething family man was living, if not quite like a god, then certainly like royalty.

A key problem for any thief is how to handle their loot in a way that will avoid detection. Here again, Champagne proved he wasn’t your typical embezzler. He decided the best way to hide his windfall was not to hide it at all. Over his years at DND, Champagne drove nice cars (he liked Corvettes). He took trips to Vegas and elsewhere on private jets. He moved into a palatial mansion in a gated community outside Ottawa. Built on two acres, with tennis courts, a pool and a private gym, the property was once appraised at over $1.4 million. He began making multi-million-dollar investments in Ottawa technology firms. He bought a vacation home in Florida, backing onto a golf course. In the late 1990s, he took the family on a trip to the Turks and Caicos islands, and fell in love with the place. Champagne claims he spent over $10 million flying tradesmen to Providenciales Island to build his seven-bedroom beachfront mansion. In 2001, he moved his family to the island, enrolled his kids in school, and spent most of the next three years commuting back and forth to his job in Ottawa, spending weekends in the Caribbean.

If anyone asked, he told them he’d made successful investments in the stock market, speculating on high-tech companies. It was the same story for everyone, including his wife and extended family. But few people asked questions.

“Somewhere along the line—and it wasn’t like an epiphany of a moment—I said, ‘I’m not going to pretend I’m hiding in some Bridlewood home and I don’t have any money,’ ” he says. “I didn’t hide my wealth from anyone. I didn’t rub it in anyone’s face at work, but most of them knew that I was well off.” Champagne was hiding all the evidence of his crime in plain view, and he figures that may have actually reduced suspicion.

“Because I was so blatant with it, you get less questions. Even with my wife, [she thought] I made great high-tech investments and I’m an extremely well-paid consultant in National Defence. That part is not that difficult to sell.”

The pressure of the job and the scheme, combined with his ever-inflating lifestyle, took a toll. Aside from the demands of running much of DND’s huge IT operation, there were far-flung investments and properties to maintain. And, of course, every March there was a whole lot of money to funnel into his bank account from desperate bureaucrats. Still, Champagne says he never really worried about getting caught. “I actually thought I was smarter than everybody anyway,” he says. “Nowhere did I say to myself, ‘Okay, I have $25 million, I should call it a day’—because, for one thing, I couldn’t think of an exit strategy from National Defence.”

There were moments, however, when certain people in the department would ask too many questions. They raised concerns about the annual rush of year-end spending, or they insisted on seeing a lot of Champagne’s paperwork. Those people made him uncomfortable, so he took matters into his own hands, using his connections in Ottawa’s high-tech industry. “These were people who didn’t understand the bigger picture, they were too bureaucratic, they were going to cause problems for the year-ends, etc. etc. They just didn’t . . . they didn’t get it,” he says. “So I had a couple of people moved, headhunted out of the Department of National Defence.”

That kind of meddling might provoke an attack of conscience in some, but Champagne never saw himself as a bad guy. “There were certainly nights where, looking in the mirror, you think ‘Jeez . . . what have you got yourself into?’ But to be honest, while you’re in the middle of all this, you feel like you’re saving the world. There’s no time to be saying, ‘Is this necessarily the right or wrong thing to do?’ I knew if I dropped the ball, I could face criminal charges. But in your mind you’re really thinking, ‘That’s not going to happen, because this could be a massive government scandal. Who would want that?’ ” So, the money train kept rolling merrily along. Until the day it came off the rails.

Paul Champagne knew how to beat an audit; he’d dealt with many of them over his time in government. But he could not deal with three at once.

“Around Christmas 2003, I got hit by a perfect storm,” he recalls. “Consulting Audit Canada was in the midst of a regular audit. Our own audit organization within National Defence was also auditing the maintenance contracts. Then Hewlett-Packard started doing an audit of their own maintenance contracts. They brought in KPMG, and I knew I could not control that one. I remember sitting in my den trying to control the flow of these three separate audits, saying, ‘I gotta figure an exit strategy pretty quickly here. This is not going to go well.’ I was called in eventually by my management within National Defence. At that point I knew it was over.”

Initially Champagne was dismissed, not for stealing money, but for approving transactions for which he had no authority. But he knew that as soon as he was out of the building, the audits would turn up trouble. Champagne flew to the Turks to be with his family, and to wait for the mess to hit the fan. It didn’t take long. The RCMP launched a criminal investigation and searched his Ottawa-area home. The government demanded full repayment from Hewlett-Packard of all the fraudulent contracts that had flowed through the company and its predecessors over the past decade. H-P initially balked, saying that it too had been victimized. But soon it gave the government a cheque for $146 million, and launched a series of lawsuits against Champagne and others implicated in the scheme, to recover its losses.

At this point, Champagne faced a fateful decision. He was sitting in a tropical paradise, with no extradition treaty, with millions in his bank account. “I’ve got tons and tons and money, and if worse comes to worst I could have lawyers fight this for me forever,” he remembers thinking. “I can pay the lawyers ’til the day I die and, you know, there’s very little Canada can do about it.” But that is when Champagne’s story takes its final surprising twist: he had an attack of conscience. He knew that, over the years, many innocent bureaucrats at DND had unknowingly attached their signatures to his fraudulent invoices. He knew that as the scandal exploded, those people would be grilled by police. Careers would certainly be destroyed. It was entirely possible, he thought, that innocent people could end up doing jail time for his crimes, even though they had been duped. “Everything kind of fell on me,” he says. “I thought, ‘I can’t do this, I just can’t, and I can’t have this burden over my family.’ Because if I deal with it, it’ll go away eventually. Whatever sentence they give me will eventually end. You can only take so much money away from me, you can only give me so much time. So I came back.”

Then came the difficult conversation with his wife: explaining the extent of his troubles, and the fact that he would likely have to go to jail. “She was devastated at that point . . . stunned,” he admits. Telling his three kids, who were teenagers by then, wasn’t much easier.

By the time he landed back in Ottawa in the summer of 2004, Champagne was a minor media celebrity and his scheme, as he predicted, had become a political scandal. It took until February 2006 before he was charged.

He co-operated with police, took full responsibility, pleaded guilty, and in April of last year was sentenced to seven years in prison. He reached a settlement with H-P, and though the details are confidential, Champagne gave up his homes and the shares he held in various companies. He was left with enough money that his family could move to a modest home in the Ottawa area and live comfortably while Champagne went to prison.

Like most federal prisoners in Ontario, he spent three months at Millhaven maximum security penitentiary outside Kingston, being assessed and processed. There, he learned to keep to himself, mind his own business, and laugh off the jokes at his expense.

Last summer he was transferred to the minimum security Pittsburgh Institution, where prisoners live in townhouses and cook their own meals. Across the parking lot looms the hulking, medium-security Joyceville Institution. Champagne rose by six o’clock each morning to get to his job in the prison grocery store (he was manager of dry goods) by 6:30. He was paid $6.35 per day. The toughest part, he says, was knowing that his family was suffering more than he.

“I missed my [twin] children’s 18th birthday; I missed their high school graduation; I missed my son’s 21st birthday. My father-in-law broke his hip; he’s now had to be put into a nursing home. My mother-in-law was diagnosed with cancer. I missed my 50th birthday, my wife’s birthday, my 25th anniversary, and my mother died—all within this year,” he says. “I’m in a place where they feed you, they take care of you, you’re warm. My wife’s had to deal with all this by herself.” Still, she stuck by him, and on June 3, 14 months after entering prison, he was granted early release after serving one-sixth of his sentence. Currently, he’s at an Ottawa-area halfway house pondering the big question: what now?

In his optimistic moments, Champagne imagines he might create a happy ending for himself, like Frank Abagnale Jr., the former con man who became an expert on investigating fraud. Leonardo DiCaprio played him in the biopic Catch Me If You Can. But mostly, his hopes are modest and largely undefined. “I’m 51 years old, and I’m high profile,” he says. “But I gotta get back working.” He never misses a chance to remind you that he’s sorry. Sorry for what he did, and sorry for what he lost too.

“I certainly miss the job, and I miss the respect that came with that job,” he says. “Is it a lot better being rich than not rich? Oh, absolutely. Whoever says it isn’t, is probably rich. And I have to realize I’ll always be seen in a different light. I certainly have extreme guilt over the other people who were affected . . . and my family.”

And, because he knows the world will always wonder, he states categorically that there is “no pot of gold waiting out there,” no secret stash of money to be scooped up when no one is looking. On that point, like so many others, you just have to take Paul Champagne’s word for it.




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Champagne wishes

  1. His home is not in a gated community; his home was gated. The photo of his home would make it the anomaly in his neighbourhood, not the norm. His new home in a "modest neighbourhood', according to the article, is actually bigger and more austentatious than the homes and neighbourhood surrounding his horrificly gross pile of bricks.

    • jealous loser

      • Paul, this habit you have of assuming multiple personae: did you not get it resolved with your prison psychiatrist?

        Also, your petty comment gives me an opportunity to clarify my comment above. Your new Land Ark home is lovely. It was the monstrostiy in Kerscott Heights that was a gross pile of bricks. That you chose to create it in the midst of middle class family homes to lord it over them speaks volumes about your character.

        Good luck in your next caper.

  2. The guy steals $100 million, lives like a king and does 14 months in a townhouse? Did I read that right? That's a joke. If it had been the US he's be doing long, hard time in a nasty place, not a bloody townhouse. Would a US style sentence act as a deterent to others? No. But if a criminal is doing decades behind bars, the criminal himself is deterred. And when he gets out he wouldn't be pumped and ready for action, he'd be a broken down old man.

    • Except in that case we would never have caught him: he'd still be sitting in the Cayman Islands with $100 million of our money. I guarantee you that Madoff's victims would rather see some of their money back than simply take revenge, sweet as that is.

  3. Did not know anything about this until now – thanks for a great story!
    It is genuinely shocking that in this day and age, government spending is still so loosely monitored.
    Despite his turning himself in, it is still kinda shocking that his sentence would be so short.
    I am curious – how much did he defraud in total, and how much was recovered?

  4. Yeh, I bet the wife didn't know anything, who are they kidding??? The only reason they're still together is because he assured her he'd continue to take care of her which is what he's doing based on how they continue to live. No stash, right????
    He's greedy and I'm sure treated innocent (and some not) public servants and others like crap while he was on his arrogant, ego trip.
    Townhouses instead of PRISON & rehab? – As a robbed taxpayer, I truly resent how white collar criminals are treated in this country. He'll probably be rewarded for his popularity and insight into the gov't by writing a book – just wait….

  5. The Turks and Caicos are like most countries that don't have formal extradition treaties and market themselves as tax havens. They don't want any negative publicity. Rest assured Champagne had no choice – if he didn't leave – they would have thrown him out.

    Computer engineers have formal training and post secondary degrees – Champagne barely made it out of High school. Referring to himself as a computer engineer is another tall tale.

    Given the chance he would do it again.

    • They would not have thrown him out, they would have protected him for$$$

    • you know him well, you were probably involved

  6. Dear Mr Maich,

    Are you a reporter?
    Were you hired by Mr Champagne to write this fabrication of the truth?
    Did you follow through with checking out your facts?
    Mr Champagne has 4 children, a 21 year old son and 18 year old triplets, not twins.
    He is not a computer engineer.
    He did not live in a gated community, he lived on a gated lot.

    The only family income is $6.45 a day in prison wages and it pays for:
    - $800,000.00 dollar house in West Carleton.
    - Lawyers fees.
    - Wife's personal trainer at Good Life Fitness.
    - $40,000.00 in recent landscaping.
    - Post secondary education for four children.
    and on and on………..

    Turks and Caicos is a small island, they are law abiding citizens, he left before they booted him off.
    Why would his well preserved wife not go out and get a job. She is a qualified teacher.
    Steal millions of dollars, go live in a townhouse, loose 100 lbs and hire a reporter to get yourself back in the news so you can tell us how you saved the Canadian taxpayers money.

    CHAMPAGNE, NO MATTER WHERE YOU GO OR WHAT YOU DO, WE, THE CANADIAN TAXPAYERS, ALWAYS SEEM TO BE PAYING YOUR WAY!!!!!!!

  7. What a heart wrenching story of personal redemption.

    What did Champagne really do after being fired and the media gets hold of his misdeeds?

    Well he hires a private jet, fills Nike bags with cash and takes off to the Turks and Caicos.
    CTV calls and HE says that people are going after the rich guy and there is no truth to the story.
    Frank magazine lampoons him and he says he made all the money in Las Vegas.

    The truth is always simple he stole lots of money and got caught. The injustice is that he gets to keep some of it.

  8. Am I supposed to feel bad for this guy? Like he's some tragic figure?

    Sorry…nobody who knows anything about what actually happened here and the resulting fallout could possibly take this man at his word. Especially when he claims he was motivated by concern for all the others involved when he came back to face charges. Ridiculous.

    You have to wonder who his PR guy is though.

  9. I'm amazed at the posters above.

    How can you POSSIBLY be angry at Champagne? Take another look at the numbers. This guy made over 1 BILLION dollars for the Canadian Government. Saying that all he deserved in return was an 80,000 dollar a year salary is tantamount to slave labour. Yeah, he stole $100 million, but thats a paltry sum compared to the work he did in the first place. He deserved twice the amount he stole. I think thats why he got such a light sentence.

    Get off your high horse. Champagne has done more good for Canada than all of you combined ever will.

    • Yea that's how it works buddy . We allow fraud and then try to determine if there was value added, after the fact. What an asinine posting. Al Capone was able to facilitate a great number of fabulous parties. Who knows, maybe Charles Manson saved from being overrun with Folgers coffee…… LMAO

  10. Just goes to show you that you can't believe a word you read nowadays. Reporters should be held accountable for not checking the facts.

    As well, DND should be ashamed. Alot of people knew he was stealing money and that he wasn't doing it alone. He bragged to anyone that would listen about how he and his innocent wife (give me a break!!) spent our money; designers flown to Turks to decorate their huge home, $20k bottles of wine, it was endless. He flaunted his wealth and fabricated many lies with regard to how he made it. Told people he won at Vegas, got an inheritance etc. Everyone got a different story from him and nobody believed him, yet no one pursued it? That's because no one wanted to. He wasn't completely stupid, just really greedy. He kept people happy and silent by lining pockets. People were aware that officials at DND (and elsewhere) knowingly made money from him and protected his scam. How else could a contractor then CS03 employee manage such a huge budget and move people out that got in his way. Only senior officials had the required motivation and power. While I'm sure Champagne paid head-hunters to approach some, he still needed inside support.

    DND encouraged the RCMP to not aggressively pursue this matter because they knew it would be a huge embarrassment to reveal the truth with regard to incompetence and accomplices within DND.

    In the end, Champagne managed to get rich (and stay that way!!!) and make it near impossible to do business with DND/gov't due to their fear of another "Champagne" incident. The gov't procurement process in place today does not work and ensures that valid businesses in Ottawa can not thrive doing business with them!!!!!

    CHAMPAGNE, NO MATTER WHERE YOU GO OR WHAT YOU DO, WE, THE CANADIAN TAXPAYERS, ALWAYS SEEM TO BE PAYING YOUR WAY!!!!!!!

  11. NO NO NO and again NO

    I lived down the street from him and his family. They bought up all the surrounding land and fenced it in, my two daughters would play in the pine grove behind our house until his wife had their lawyer send us a threatening letter to stay off their land.

    They dug six wells on their ten acres of green lawn to water it each and every night. They used so much water that four neighbours had their wells run dry and needed to drill new ones at a cost of six to seven thousand dollars each. Champagnes response was " take me to court and I'll drown you in legal bills"

    Best thing to ever happen was them being forced to move.
    The Champagnes were arrogant mean people. A much nicer family has moved in recently, thank goodness.

    MR CanadianViking there's a bad smell about you.

  12. Get off the band wagon.

    Champagne and others have bought into this notion that Champagne saved DND millions of dollars under his stewardship. The fact is that Champagne occupied a desk at DND during a period when everyone in the world was realizing that is was cheaper to replace a computer or laptop than have a technician repair it.

    Maintenance contracts were cancelled and replaced with the purchasing of fancy new laptops, let's face it every employee was happy to receive the latest and greatest new gadget.

    That left a spending void that Champagne filled with phony invoices.

    Giving yourself credit for the sun coming up every morning is The God complex Champagne refers to.

  13. How can I POSSIBLY be angry?

    Assuming you're being serious, the answer is that his job was to save the govt money WITHOUT stealing what he felt like. If we all did business like Mr Champagne this country would be a third world hellhole.

    Canadianviking, do you steal from your employer? Alternatively, assuming you own a business, what would you do if one of your employees was stealing from you? Even if it was your star employee (like Mr Champagne), I'll bet the first thing you'd do is hit the roof and the second thing you'd do is to call the cops. Am I right?

    • Maybe I should clarify.

      Stealing is wrong anyway you slice it, and Champagne got exactly what he deserved. A light prison sentence.

      I say light because he stole money that should have been his in the first place. If he had used some of his brainpower to ask for a well-deserved raise, or moved to the private sector, he could've gotten all his money legally, and everyone would be happy.

      Its people like "Get therapy fast" making stupid comments that gets me mad. The government is NOT paying his way. If you add up all the money the government spent prosecuting/jailing/paying etc. Champagne plus all the money he stole, theres still several hundred million dollars left over for the government to use on whatever it pleases.

      • To this self proclaimed canadianviking

        Stop giving yourself credit for stealing and liying. You do need therapy because you haven't realized who you are or what you've become.

        Good luck trying to live a ligitimate life – the Canadian system saved your ass. Many of us will be watching you dig yourself a bigger hole.

      • Canadianviking AKA Champagne- What should get you mad is what you have taught your 4 children about making a living.
        Kids let's sit down- Dad wants to tell you about getting a job.
        First get hired on false credentials, then accept your salary, start working but when you realize that you are a really good diamond salesperson and are making the company money, just start pocketing what you think YOU are really worth.
        Don't forget to implicate friends and employees and your dumb wife or husband.
        Remember you are so much smarter than all the other people on earth.
        You don't need an exit strategy, just bury enough money to keep your family afloat.
        Remember also if you don't have any friends you can't lose any friends.
        Kids, it doesn't matter how you get your name in the papers, as long as people are talking about you, you are a STAR!!!
        Now go out there and lie yourself to your fortune.
        Champagne you make a lot of people sick.
        If you could get in the same position again we would be out millions again.
        SHAME ON YOU!!!!!
        Get therapy and share it with your family before they repeat your offenses.

      • There are secuirty guards who save the country money too; and nurses who save the lives of rich people. Should they be paid millions? Wierd logic canadianviking.

  14. This story is nothing more than an incentive for all the other weasels in Ottawa to dig in. Are you listening weasels? Let's make sure they are………THERE ARE NO CONSEQUENCES FOR STEALING MONEY FROM CANADIAN TAXPAYERS. Obviously, they have all suspected that this was the case, but now they now for sure. $100,000,000.00 missing and no one notices. What an unbelievable indictment of that sham we try to pass-off as a government. This whole thing reeks of fraud. HP magically received $146,000,000.00 for no actual work, just processing paperwork. NO NO that would never seem odd !!!!! Pennies from heaven…… And Champagne would like to reassure Canadians that NONE of the other players knew what was going on or were involved. Sure thing…..right pal !!!! They had a deal that he would take the fall if the wheels fell off their scheme, count on it. They knew the ropes. One guy goes down and it's case closed. His fraud was discovered around the same time that Adscam was front and center. 100% for sure, they swept this under the carpet, knowing full-well that the Canadian public couldn't withstand two frauds of this magnitude at the same time. In Ontario they're doing the same thing right now. McGuinty and The Libs are accepting minor punishment for the ehealth boondoggle, in a deliberate attempt to avoid scrutiny of the Smart Systems. Let's see ehealth $5,000,000.00 and Smart Systems $647,000,000.00…. Do the math people. If Ontarians are hit with the truth about Smart Systems, that it was a total fraud that was carried out by the EXACT SAME PEOPLE as ehealth, there will be blood on the floor. Not to worry though, the weakling public here took the bait like babies and let them completely get away with it. I recommend that everyone in a position to steal public money does it and in a big way. There are no consequences. As a matter of fact the brass will help you get away with it, rather than take hits themselves. This country is in end times.

  15. A mere piker. To really steal from the taxpayer one must be a politician. What he stole every year is nothing compared to what DND wastes through shear incompetence.

  16. Incredible. Poor fellow. Crocodile tears are in order.

  17. What is amazing is if it was you or I committed a crime and sent to jail – the family would have to fend for themselves. On release they would probably be living in City Housing and on welfare. Not in this case. The Champages are living in a $800k house in a private neighbourhood just down the road from our family. New pool new hot tube and new landscaping. And this on $6.35 per day. Do you not think that this so-called reporter would clink in and wonder how this was possible? I sure would like to know. If you or I were put into Club Med, the family would be on their own. So nice of HP to give the family enough money to survive until Dad gets out. Does this not smell to anyone, including the PR reporter or am I just stupid? This now shows you that crime pays. Steal $100 Million and spend 16 months in jail and …. out to the minor mansion and ..Bobs your Uncle.. Only in Canada you say!

  18. I am sorry, but something is not right here. He was able to make a deal with HP to keep, from what I understand is a nice house and have the family expenses paid for while in jail as JDK mentioned. How is this possible, and the Macleans reporter did not clue into this. He steal $100 million and he only spents 16 months and walks to a home and happy family. I have to agree that there is more to this then the great reporting we get from the PR man. Sad, but this is Canada.

  19. Did Macleans get a share of the stolen money or was this the worst article I have ever read that defends a criminal. Next time you write an article you might want to check out some of the information provided by a "criminal" to ensure it is accurate.

    There should be no sympathy for Mr Champagne. His actions ruined the careers and personal lives of many people that were directly or indirectly involved with the fraud.

  20. Dear CanadianViking/Paul Champagne

    I'm the top salesperson at a local car dealership and I need your guidance, do I

    1. Steal half my co-workers lunch?
    2. Siphon gas from the demo vehicles?
    3. Steal a car a month?

    Please help.

  21. Dear CanadianViking/Paul Champagne

    I can not believe that you still to this day try and justify that stealing was and is the right thing to do. Great role model Dad. As quoted:

    "I say light because he stole money that should have been his in the first place. If he had used some of his brainpower to ask for a well-deserved raise, or moved to the private sector, he could've gotten all his money legally, and everyone would be happy. "

    .

  22. Pardon me ….this should have been his money !! a raise of $10 million a year versus $80k. This guy just past high school and had so much brain power to say "Duh – lets just buy new stuff instead of a support contract" No one else would have figured this out in the same role? There is no way Mr PC/ CdnViking would have survived in the private sector..no way. I find it hard to believe that this reporter missed so many details in his story. I saw many comments that the family lived like kings while Dad was away. This does not speak well for the higher ups at HP, DND and the Crown. Maybe Macleans will habe the guts to try and find out the truth with a reporter that wants to dig for the facts then listen to a whole bunch of "I'm sorry" from the Champ. By the way, whats with the bench he is sitting on for the photo op? I guess prison still feeds well

  23. Champagne is Canada's version of Madoff, except our justice system let's this guy serve 8 years (only 16 months for good behaviour) instead of 150 years. Plus, his wife and family continue to be looked after. Madoff's wife just got evicted from her penthouse, and chances are his son's will lose their houses, as well as any chance of being able to pull their heads out of the sand to get decent employment.

    I say we should all write letters to our local newspapers and politicians and shame this guy and his family so much that it will affect their life today and in the future. PAUL CHAMPAGNE IS GREEDY SCUM CROOK! – LOL – probably not the best suggestion, but what a nasty case of injustice. Petty thieves who do break and enters get more time than this guy, and they likely have a drug addiction as an excuse.

  24. Champagne is Canada's version of Madoff, except our justice system let's this guy serve 8 years (only 16 months for good behaviour) instead of 150 years. Plus, his wife and family continue to be looked after. Madoff's wife just got evicted from her penthouse, and chances are his son's will lose their houses, as well as any chance of being able to pull their heads out of the sand to get decent employment.

    I say we should all write letters to our local newspapers and politicians and shame this guy and his family so much that it will affect their life today and in the future. PAUL CHAMPAGNE IS A GREEDY SCUM CROOK! – LOL – probably not the best suggestion, but what a nasty case of injustice. Petty thieves who do break and enters get more time than this guy, and they likely have a drug addiction as an excuse.

  25. Proportionately, Champagne is paying 37 times as much per dollar stolen as Madoff. Now, you can say that is not a fair comparison, and you'd be right. Just something to think about, before you get all agitated about the Canadian Justice System.

    However, there is more to the Madoff comparison than that. Madoff was running a Ponzi scheme, meaning he created no value for anyone. Champagne worked for the DND and he created 1 BILLION dollars of value for the government. Then he stole 10% percent of it. In justice, credit is given for previous good deeds (think plea bargains and giving the loot to charity). Just because the amounts were so huge doesn't mean the same rules don't apply here.

  26. In the first place, I'm not Champagne, or Steve Maich. I'm just a guy from the prairies who likes a good debate. This is the internet, so no I can't prove it. You're just gonna have to trust me on this one.

    I have a lot to write here, so I'm gonna split this up into a few comments…

    Champagne is a 12 year old kid painting graffiti in an alley compared to Madoff.
    70 billion > 100 million
    Madoff got 150 years, Champagne got 8
    70 bil. divided by 100 mil. = 700 times the crime
    150 divided by 8 = 19 times the punishment
    700 divided by 19 = +/- 37

  27. My logic in the above comments is not "weird", its perfectly sound, as I will demonstrate in my next comment:

    Its all a case of supply and demand. In the cases of nurses and security guards, there is a huge pool of people willing and able to do those jobs. They are paid 5 figure rather than 8 figure salaries because that is the point where supply meets demand.

    In Champagne's case, the number of people willing and ABLE to do his job was 1. Him. Therefore, the value of his work was VERY high. The stupid thing he did was trying to steal the money he deserved rather than getting it through legitimate means.

    • Please…please…please….what is deserving is doctors, nurses, a fireman, a police officer, a soldier, teachers, even the Tim Hortons worker who greets you with a smile on their face and a piping hot cup of coffee. There is no value in being stupid and taking advantage of where you are working, there is no glory in stealing millions of dollars.

  28. As for the "I coulda done that" response, well, no you couldn't. Its easy for Monday morning quarterbacks to say what they would have done, its another thing to actually get it done on gameday. If it really were that easy, somebody else would have done it, and Champagne would be out of a job. Evidence for this can be seen in his 10 year tenure with the DND. If it really was as easy as saying 'Hey, lets get new stuff!' you can be sure they wouldn't have needed Champagne around past 1995.

    In conclusion: Get off your moral high horse. Champagne got what was coming to him, his debt to society is paid. Now leave him alone.

    • Good morning Paul. What a wonderful explanation for the colossal sleaze you have demonstrated. Tomorrow morning try, "hey they're all doing it". Personally, I think you deserve to be on the end of a rope. I would personally kick the chair away. Then the weasel contingency in Scumbag Central ( aka Ottawa) would think again before reducing themselves to thieving insects. That's how the Chinese got this kind of crap under control. Go ahead pal, give it try.

      • you are sick

        • hey Paul: Take it easy man….. you're the guy who screwed-up and wrecked your life. I know all about The T & C and you'll have a rough ride there too. Those people definitely are not anxious to become known as a destination for criminals. At one point they were actively pursuing Russian and Italian money, until they found themselves in bed with all the wrong people. Now The T & C are in a desperate scramble to clean up their act. The British Parliament is preparing to take over total control of their country, if they haven't already. I don't really blame you for stealing the money. It's all stolen money as far as I'm concerned. We don't have an actual tax system, it's more like financial rape. They have the jails and the guns, so it's hand over 60% of your dough sucker or else!!!!!! If you didn't steal it, someone else would have. There is absolutely no scenario that would have seen a single dime come back to average Canadians, so who cares? I just think that cases like yours are an excellent opportunity to ratchet up the anger around here and help bring on the revolution. It's fantastic ammo to humiliate Ottawa and eventually collapse the whole joint. WE WILL see a revolution in Canada, a digital one. Personally, I think the day is coming very soon when significant numbers of Canadians completely disengage from government on all levels. That's really all it will take to crush them……. It's the old Omerta plan……. a conspiracy of silence. Once this is accomplished, they can try to deal with it. The simple truth is that they have been hiring all the immigrants to conceal the failure of Canada's immigration policies and on top of that promoting completely unqualified people, without consideration to merit. Well, nice job folks, but it looks like that's your staff. If I was forced to operate like that, I'd be bust in a week. Once the system is placed under heavy pressure, these people will fold like tents. This historic fraud can't go on and I fully intend to help grease the wheels. I'm pretty good at it too. You'll see…..

  29. I already know what the Degree Nazis like "I know him well" and "Better Reporter" will say:

    "Anybody could have done what he did." "He's just an idiot who never went to college" "Saying 'lets just get new stuff' is easy. I coulda done that."

    Accusing someone of lying for claiming to be what they are (a computer engineer) just because they don't have a computer engineering degree is elitist, prejudiced, and stupid. It doesn't matter what your grades were, or how much your tuition cost. All that matters in the workplace is what you can do, and how well you can do it. And obviously, Champagne did a pretty good job.

  30. Canadianviking – you seem to be obsessed with yourself. Luckily for you our Justice System is a joke.

    So how is that Money yours? Just because DND employs idiots does not give you the right to steal taxpayers money as you admitted when you plead guilty.

    • I don't believe Champagne is canadianviking. Champagne gave his interview with macleans, admitted guilt (I don't believe he acted alone?) and has nothing to gain from defending his actions.. He said I'm guilty!!

      • He's a hurt'n unit and is shocked by the hatred people are espousing here. The real sad part is that this goof has access to a computer in his townhouse. Then again, maybe he's back in The Turks and Caicos. Did someone say "scarlet letter" for Paul.

        • That is a lot of hate you are carrying? I don't think we will hear from Champagne again. Good riddance to him.

  31. Had Champange lived in the US the sentence would have been MUCH steeper. Champange’s debt to Canadians was not repaid, 7 years is a walk in park and being relased ealry for good behavior simply adds insult to injury. Champange walked away from this car wreck simply because higher-ups at HP and DND wanted this quietly done away with.

    Any numbnut with the ability to read understands that theft is theft. Champange has the nerve to tell Canadians that he saved tax dollars and considers his conscience to be clear. Had this crime been committed anywhere else but Canada Champange would be looking to his bunkmate for more than just new reading material. Champange your LUCKY, be glad your considered dirty laundry that needed to be hidden quickly. DND did not employ a business savvy techincal expert, just another warped individual with shot moral compass. Champange has shredded every ounce of credability he had. A job at McDonalds would be a blessing. Champange is a JOKE.

    • I read the article many times and it does not state he believes his conscience to be clear, just the opposite. I agree that management at DND wanted this story to end quietly. That being said, Champagne took full responsibility and said no one else was involved. I'm not sure if I believe he did it all on his own but he said he did.

  32. Listen Champagne or CanadianViking or perhaps Dark Knight,

    That was way to long and confused.
    Have you noticed that no one ever gives you credit.
    James Bagnall who analyzed your spending of the stolen money Says” Paul Champagne was truly a reckless spender. “
    In this MacLean's article the auditor refers to your misdeed as a simple fake invoicing scheme.
    Nobody ever heard of you at Mitel.
    Nobody ever heard of you at Dyfor systems.

    It was a dumb luck that allowed you to steal that much money and you blew most of it on beer and popcorn. There is some buried in your backyard – we all know that. But what are you going to do once it's gone.

    They could keep you in jail for 100 years and you'll never change. You will piss away the money you've been able to stash and when that's gone …….

    Your sentence begins now.

    • He admitted the guilt and came back to face the crime. He got 7 years and didn't drop any other names at DND. What else should he do?

      • No Jack he got 13 months and many millions of dollars from the shareholders of Hewlett Packard and the Canadian taxpayers.

        • Agreed. But he settled with HP and the Government has been completely refunded.

    • DY/4 you idiot!

  33. Champagne admitted his guilt in the article. HP has moved on so has the Canadian government. So should we.

    • Come down from the bean stalk Jack – the air's obviously too thin.

    • Admitting his guilt is fine, but the taxpayers deserves to see that money returned, if he has to work the rest of his life and sell all his possessions. Otherwise, we are asking others to rip us off as well. I am sick and tired of people getting away with crimes. I don't want to let Lyin' Brian get away with his nonsense either. It's the attitude of just walking away that makes others thing they can get away with this disgusting kind of crime, ripping off your fellow Canadians for your own benefit.

      • HP repaid all the money and then they sued Champagne. The Government and the taxpayers are all square. The settlement with HP is confidential and all parties are satisfied. WE may not agree with it but that is the law.

        • True, but don't even get me started on the Justice (oops, sorry) Legal Department and how often they drop the ball.

          • True enough. Look at the Mulroney situation.

  34. Come on guys, is that ALL you can say? How about responding to some of the points in my comments?

    I am NOT obsessed with myself. I haven't said a word about myself. We're talking about Champagne here.

    You can't legitimately call for someone to hang if you can't provide a reason for it thats more compelling than that person's defences. All I see here is:
    1: HES A SCUMBAG! or
    2: Canadianviking is Champagne! (which I'm not btw)

    Thats simply not enough reason. Come on, you can come up with something better than that.

  35. Paul Champagne is a conceited, self-serviing criminal who should be spending the rest of his life in prison. The idiots at DND that let him get away with this crime should be demoted to a job cleaning latrines. And McLeans should not be giving him any space to tell his "sad" story,

    Is there no morality and dignity left in this country?

    • Our government is CORRUPT !!! and that's all there is to it. Those sleazebags have figured out that the public can take a hike, no matter what is exposed. OK,so you caught us, Big Deal !!!!!! We say blah blah blah and then yada yada yada and then they steal more. Nothing real ever comes out of any of this bullsh*t. Adscam, corrupt drug squad cops, ehealth, the MFP computer leasing fraud, Smart Systems, DND and on and on and on. And these are only the scams that have been unearthed. It's the tip of the iceberg. Now they're ramping-up the deficit, to really sweeten the pot. Don't be surprised though, this is far from the first country to end up having criminals running the show. Stick you money in a safe foreign bank with digital access, grab everything you can and stay away from government as much as possible. You and I will not have ANY positive outcomes dealing with the Ottawa mafia. It's a closed loop.

      • Thank you for your comment. Very well put. I work in the government and I see the horrible waste and barely legal things that go on. And it makes the honest and hard-working government employee (and there are lots of them) look bad.

    • Who are you, to make such comments? What is your morality story?

      • You must be one of Paul's family. My story is that I have never ripped off my fellow Canadians and I am a government employee. so that's who I am.

        • Did you work with him at DND?

  36. What do you want to debate about canadianviking?

    That he was entitled to submit false invoices and get paid for them?

      • No you didn't get exactly what you deserved. 13 months and millions of dollars of stolen money is wrong Champagne. Will you ever admit to that?

  37. I thought jail time was a way to lose weight – Am I correct and does the the picture of the Champ on the bench look a little odd or am I seeing things. It sure looks like its pretty deep in the middle. I guess as a taxpayer, they feed them pretty damn good in jail. Glad to see the Champ back ..ok NOT!!! DUH!!! DONUTS!!!

    • You should have seen him before – he was the size of a house.

      • Yea ……….the "Big House"……. We were just having fun and my comments got the boot…. ah shucks !!!

  38. Strange response…… are you referring to me? I thought you were a government employee critical of the theft? My posting was for Champagne or Viking or maninthemirror or whatever he's calling himself. I think maybe we have ferreted out the truth here. How many different names are you using here Champagne? As for meeting up….when and where?

    • I apologize. I mixed your e-mail up with maninthemirror. I am definitely a government employee critical of the theft. And I have a lot of friends over at DND who are appalled by what Champagne did and how long it took to catch him.

  39. Comments like yours take all the validity away from the discussion. Grow up!

  40. Well Jack not really.

    The poster more than likely knew Champagne or Champ as he calls him. Champagne was an obsessed borderline alcoholic who couldn't control himself in many situations. Champagne's excessive weight was due to his gluttony and anyone who had the misfortune of working with him recognised that.

    Champagne had no real plan except to keep his head in the trough. He didn't have an exit strategy much like the drunk who can't get his ass off the barstool.

    His legacy is dumb luck and greed. As bad as this sounds; it is a very accurate description of Champagne and what he did.

    • Whoa! Slow down with the insults. How do you know anything about this guy. Obsessed borderline alcoholic, what are you his shrink!

      The reports at DND were that they he did a terrific job until this scandal broke. Dumb luck and greed maybe but cool it with the personal attacks. You sound incredibly petty.

      • Sorry – Ciriling the Drain is very correct. I know the Champ, Mellon and boys form Hockey/High School and football days – Champ could drink with the best of them. In his SENs private box – the booze tabs were unreal (well it wasn't his money ..so why not) and Champ usually needed a little help getting to the car

        • Sounds like you were drinking with them and enjoying the ride, so give it a rest you hypocrite!

          • Champagne had three DUI's culminating with him losing his license for 1 year.
            All the lawyer's ge could buy didn't keep him driving.

          • Those lawyers must have done something magic. Three DUI's brings on a whole bunch more than a one year suspension for the average planet walker. If they all occurred within a ten year period, we're talking a lifetime ban and an unpleasant visit to the jug. Why am I not surprised that connected people with wads of dough in Ottawa can avoid problems?

          • You must be a very close friend, probably someone helping spend al that cash.

          • I only heard of 1 DUI and that was over 10 years ago.

          • Sorry Jack – I paid my for my own ticket and drinks – never wanted to be involved with that lot. It was way over the top. I just observed the Champ and his bought friends. I could not stand the guy!!!

          • Why, did you think he was corrupt or were you just the jealous type.

          • Come on Champ !!!!!!!

            Yes we're all jealous of you and your accomplishments. Has the time in jail been productive?
            Bowling anyone?

  41. I thought it was an interesting story. It is a sad reflection on how the Government handles its budget especially at Government year end. For this to go on for 10 years is ridiculous. But the facts are:

    Fact-Champagne has admitted his guilt and accepts full responsibility.
    Fact-Champagne came back to face his charges from a country with no extradition treaty. They would not have kicked him out.
    Fact-Champagne did not fight this in court.
    Fact-Champagne got 7 years. Manso got 2 years.
    Fact-He was released on 1/6 of his sentence (non violent crime first time federal offender)
    Fact-Government got back all their money $146million from settlement with Hewlett-Packard
    Fact-Hewlett-Packard sued Champagne and they settled out of court
    Fact-Champagne obviously was left with money from his civil suit or why would he settle.

    In the article Champagne apologized to Canadian taxpayers, took full responsibility.

    We may not like him or the situation but the facts are the facts. I just hope this type of thing never happens again.

  42. I cannot believe that Mr. Maich would write an article about Paul Champagne who is nothing more than a thief. He stole from all of us. Are we suppose to somehow feel sorry for this man because he missed his childrens birthdays, his anniversary, etc. etc. Well, why not an article about my husband who just returned from 8 months in Afghanistan. He missed birthdays, he missed our anniversary, he was not beside me when family members passed away, because he was serving his country in a war torn dangerous place. Not a day went by that I didn't worry for his safety. I for one do not feel sorry for Champagne and can't believe that he would have hurt his family like that, and all for what, MONEY. We don't have hot tubs, pools, personal trainers, big houses, but what we do have is self-respect, honesty, and love and I would take that any day over being a thief and hurting people around you.

  43. If you read this Mr. Maich I am sure my husband would love to sit down with you and tell you what it was like to live in Afghanistan for 8 long months, out in the middle of the desert, living with dust everywhere, the heat, sleeping in a tent and waiting for care packages to arrive from home and praying that when you went out in a vehicle that you weren't hit by an IED and hurting so bad when you heard that a fellow soldier had been killed. Mr. Champagne should have gotten a lot longer of a sentence than he did so he could truly reflect on what he did and the lives he affected.

  44. Not a chance Champagne.

    Fact-Champagne has admitted his guilt and accepts full responsibility.
    Champagne denied everything until he had no choice but to tell the truth.

    Fact-Champagne came back to face his charges from a country with no extradition treaty. They would not have kicked him out.
    Tourism is # 1 revenue for the Turks and Caicos and Canadians are the second largest visitors. Champagne's Lawyer's told him that people in power in The Turks would make his life very difficult on the island.

    Fact-Champagne did not fight this in court.
    DND and HP handed Champagne a gift to keep the story out of the press – when you don't have a court case, you don't have any news.

    Fact-Champagne got 7 years. Manso got 2 years.
    A gift to keep your mouth shut……

    Fact-He was released on 1/6 of his sentence (non violent crime first time federal offender)
    A gift to keep your mouth shut…….

    Fact-Government got back all their money $146million from settlement with Hewlett-Packard
    Millions have been spent and overlooked to get your ass into court.
    Hewlett Packards shareholders who are people investing for retirement paid the 146 million……where do you think the cash came from that paid for your ten years at the beach……

    Fact-Hewlett-Packard sued Champagne and they settled out of court
    Hewlett Packard was in the drivers seat and you were given one choice – give us most of what you have left and we'll let you keep some of the stolen cash. Tell us what you promised them to keep your mouth shut…..

    Fact-Champagne obviously was left with money from his civil suit or why would he settle
    You had no choice Champagne – none of us believe your BS

    • I am not Champagne. Each time someone comes up with a different viewpoint posters always attack. So predictable. Your comments regarding the facts are thought provoking and well thought out. My comments are:

      fact: Champagne admitted his guilt in the article, that can not be disputed.
      fact: He could have stayed in the Turks&Caicos forever. He came back.
      fact: Maybe you are right and HP and DND wanted to kill the story.
      fact: 7 years is no gift.
      fact: Every first time non violent federal offender is offered 1/6
      fact: HP shareholders have a right to be pissed.
      fact: Confidential settlement between HP and Champagne. Obviously HP wasn't completely in control if they settled.
      fact: Stupid comment due to settlement agreement.

      I could care less about Champagne and I think getting out on 1/6 is ridiculous.

  45. Champagne thinks this article will ease his way back into society. Why else would he open up and crawl out from under that rock ? He got the absolute best resolution of his "problem" that he could. Who steals 146 million, pays back a fraction and get 3 months of hard time and 11 months in a condo to land back on an Ottawa street in a halfway house ? I mean really ????

    You have to hand it to him for being up front- just like he was when he had the gads of money. Who buys $20,000 dollar bottles of wine when they're an 80K a year bureaurat with a high school education ?

    This guy went big because he thought it would be easier. Now he's interviewed by Macleans because he thinks we'll buy his line that its all over and that he has nothing to hide. Really ? I mean REALLY????

    • There is nothing to hide. HP settled with him as did the Government. It may not be right but it is finished. Move on.

  46. Those who knew him more than superficially all has a sense that Paul Champagne wasn't what he pretended to be. He was not the high tech success, the loyal husband and the faultless father that he pretended to be. He wasn't the "happy-go-lucky give you the shirt off his back" guy either- unless he was giving you your own shirt back. He was a fake then and he's a fake now. I say that with no qualifiers and I can honestly say that I've never said that about anybody.

    But this guy- well, he's in a class of his own. It must be awful to have to live with someone like that- where's the trust ? So far, he's done alright considering a "mistake" that lasted ten years and not exactly in the "spur of the moment" category.

    Judging by this site, few are buying what he's selling though. Every dollar that he or those connected with him spend will have a question mark on it. Some might call that his real penalty- with no timeline on it as he had hoped. I truly feel sorry for the guy- not for what he did but for he thought he got away with.

    • It must be incredible to be so insightful and so without sin yourself. Let it go.

  47. I got it .. Champange can do no wrong with his next job. he can work with the Liberals and be the spokesperson for the country Stimulus plan. The guy knows how to spend money !!!

  48. This is simple, there alot of people that want him to keep quiet. He steals $140 million and spends it like a drunkun sailour and spends only 14 months in the slammer? And we are supoose to feel sorry for this crook. In the USA if they steal from the public , all assets are taken. Not in this case, where his family are still able to live in a paid home and have enough money while Dad is away to apy for the expenses. This just stinks, and no reporter is trying to look at this story? If this guys gets a new job at Tim Hortens, his steal donuts and coffee. To thik that he was the only one at DND that can figure out this scheme is sad

  49. Wow, … other important blind and deaf staff members must have been involved here otherwise this guy wouldn't been ended up doing time in a townhouse. Bud again, the government as an institute is a joke although we should not laugh with sick people, just pay them and you are good to go.

  50. The bottom line is he Screwed Our Troops ! and that is tantamount to TREASON ! ! He should have gotten a LIFE sentence.
    $100 Million would have went along way buying our Troops some much needed equipment.
    Did you know that our Troops when they started going to Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1992, did not have enough Kevlar helmets (read the book Tarnished Brass for examples) it was apparently so bad that the Troops rotating out would leave the Kevlar helmets for the Troops rotating in.

    • What about the $1 billion plus he saved our troops then? Without him (I am not defending theft!!!!!) our incredible government and DND would have blown another $1billion that our troops needed. He may be a thief but he saved lots of $$$$$$$

  51. As for saving DND money, I have not read anywhere other than in this egotistic interview that he did.

    The bottom line is he stole $100 million (a deliberate act) and should have paid the piper, alittle over a year is pathetic.

    • It is a fact he saved over a billion dollars for DND. It was stated in court and supported by the Crown counsel and DND themselves. This does not condone the theft but keeping the facts straight are important to this discussion.

      I have always felt there is more to this than one guy. Seems odd this had gone on that long and no one at DND acted.

  52. Champagne or his alter ego tries to make us believe that he saved DND a billion dollars or so.

    No way Champ – facts prove otherwise – the accounting shows that your department's budget increased every year and it was completely spent every year – and on top of that you stole an extra 140 million.

    There were no savings.

    You have Antisocial personality disorder

    Three or more of the following are required:

    Failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest;

    Deceitfulness, as indicated by repeatedly lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure;

    Impulsivity or failure to plan ahead;

    Irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults;

    Reckless disregard for safety of self or others;

    Consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations;

    Lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another.

    • I don't like what the guy did but you are now distorting facts with your comments. It is a fact backed up by documentation that was backed by the Crown and DND that Champagne did reduce the budget dramatically during his tenure. The fact that DND's overall budget increased has nothing to do with the IM group Champagne worked for.

      When you spout facts know of what you speak.

      • I'm sure you understand (or perhaps not) that the theft 140 million dollars is wrong. The facts are that nothing was saved by the department and trying to rationalize the theft is the product of a sick mind.

        • I am not disputing that theft is wrong. I am also not trying to rationalize his actions. I am stating that overall IM budgets were drastically reduced during his tenure. DND as a Department saved a ton of money and I assume that is why this was allowed to go on so long. Obviously the Department turned a blind eye and stated "the end justified the means". It is ridiculous that "year-end" spending was handled in this fashion.

          • Budget money was merely diverted. Champagne took advantage of the ridiculous year end spending frenzy to divert vast amounts of money to other areas while allowing himself and his other criminal friends to take a percentage off the top.

            There was no money saved. There was no money saved. There was no money saved.

          • You don't seem to understand. When he came in DND was spending $200m on IT contracts. He reduced that to $50m. Thus saving $150m. per year! Therefore there was an area where other groups could have "their" year end money spent!

          • So, in other words, the money wasn't saved. You freed it up to be spent elsewhere. Whereas if you didn't perform this magic, it would have gone unspent. Using your own logic, but reverse-engineering it, I think you owe the Canadian taxpayer a 10% fee for finding a way to spend more, don't you?

          • Flawed logic but very insightful. I don't want to defend his or DND's actions. It is ridiculous this went on this long and even more ridiculous money is spent at year-end this way.

            They deserved each other.

  53. The question I have always had is where was the supervision? I work in a similar field, and the idea that someone at his level could authorize such large expenditures is staggering. Frankly, I think I already know the answer:

    1) Most Military officials do not understand PS rules and procedures, and are often contemptuous of the need to do so. Such things are lumped under the term "bureaucracy", and are usually delegated to whatever level can't delegate them further.

    2) DND values results above all else, and Paul Champagne got results. He made problems go away, and he did so without any messy paperwork. He was a Military manager's dream.

    Bureacracy can be a pain, fair enough, but it's also bureaucracy that ensures rules are followed and taxpayers' money is safe-guarded. If even the most basic rules had been followed, Paul Champagne could not have gotten away with this.

    I note that Gen Paul Hellier has some pointed comments towards "bureaucrats" in his new book, so this attitude is still pervasive. DND still has a lot of work to do if they want to ensure this doesn't happen again.

    • Champagne got results and that was the only thing that mattered. His actions saved DND $$$$$$ regardless of how it was accomplished. We may not agree but in this case

      "The end justified the means".

      And please, don't tell me his Superiors didn't know what was happening!

  54. I am very interested in all that is getting dragged into this debate. I admittedly have some strong feelings here.

    There is not much to defend here about this guy – He is a criminal. He stole money. He admit it. There is nothing noble about crime – regardless of how much money you save people along the way. Interestingly enough, i'll bet a few of these angry posters don't hate robin hood they way they hate this fellow.

    What I really don't understand is the fixation with punishment in our society. Sorry folks, but it is VERY old news that punishment has very little effect on behaviour. If you spank your kid they will probably not act out until you leave the room.
    'positive reinforcement' is what changes behaviour. Pull people over and give them scratch and win tickets if you see them wearing seatbelts, and suddenly the whole town is wearing seatbelts all the time – 20 years later, 19 after the scratch and win tickets are no longer being given out and people are still religiously wearing seatbelts….

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  55. I think there is really somthing sadly archaic and perhaps even beastly about human nature that seems to have us 'enjoy' watching others suffer. we know that this person did something very wrong, and for that we want them to endure suffering. Nothing good comes of it. They will not learn any lesson, as we know (basic entrly level psychology classes teach that. In addition basic entry level criminology level classes teach that stricter consequences do not influence behaviour. For example, the year after Canada stopped giving the death penalty, murder rates dropped… People were terrified suddenly everyone and their grandmother would go on killing sprees because of the absence of mega punishments – but that clearly didn't happen. Why? because when someone commits crimes they are not thinking about the negative consequences) it does not influence behaviour.
    Thefore, the only real benefit to punishing people is the pleasure others experience in watching the individual being punished suffer.
    Keep in mind, A) Strict consequences do not influence behaviour {Ask any criminologist). B) Punishment is a very ineffective method of changing behaviour (ask any psychologist).
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  56. So why is it people are crying the blues about our justice system?

    Now, i am not in a million years going to stand up for this guy. He agreed to his salary when he took the job. If he was to be making a commission on $ saved, that should have been discussed when he is hired. As far as i am concerned, saving the government that much money was him doing his job.
    The big issue to me, that i see very little discussion on, is the budget spending. I was very taken back by the comment that underspending is about as horrible as over spending because it means budget cuts. This notion causes a horrifying amount of wasteful spending, and indeed, led to this absurd scam. That issue needs some serious attention.
    Just my thoughts.

    • The entire "problem" started and was "allowed" to continue in order to make budget. Spend it or lose it still persists.

  57. Way to go Paul, or should I say Reggie. Always knew you could do it. Just wished I was around when the money began to roll in. Pisses me off I missed out on the parties, the Sens games, the trips, golf,and all the fun. I chose to live honestly and to think how I could have lived had I followed in your foot steps. You know who I am. Look at the sig. There is only one person knows what that means. We all admired what we thought you had done, but at the same time we knew it couldn’t be true. The real story is actually what we should have expected. You were always a thief. Remember your poker line, “I play to win”, while stealing from your best friends at cards. Nice. I should have figured it out long before anyone else did. I knew just from looking you in the face in the summer of ’98 something was up. Fact is I know you too well and your comments to Macleans are just more of the same old shenanigans. C’mon, Paul like your wife thought that you bought her a half million in jewelery and homes in Turks and Caicos and Florida on govt bonuses and it was all gotten legally. Lets see, couple million govt employees, and consultants out there and your the only one cashing those kind of cheques. Give me a break. Paul, send me some of that cash you’ve got stashed and we’ll call it even. You can find me if you look hard enough. I’ll be waiting. Thanks (remember index finger on side of nose when we make our meet)

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