Guilty plea to $1M charity fraud

The Ottawa courthouse on Elgin Street in Ottawa. (QMI Agency files)

The Ottawa courthouse on Elgin Street in Ottawa. (QMI Agency files)

Tony Spears, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 6:05 PM ET

LONDON, Ont. ─ Yolande Knight siphoned almost $1 million from an Ontario charity and used the money to fund a lavish lifestyle and apparently the political career of her boyfriend, who was vying to become president of Haiti.

Knight pleaded guilty Monday to a single count of fraud over $5,000.

She took advantage of her position as financial director of Total Communication Environment ─ a charity that provides housing and training to the developmentally-challenged ─ to line her pockets between 2001 and 2009, while earning a $90,000 annual salary.

According to a detailed analysis of her company credit card transactions prepared by the Crown, she rang up a modest $34,000 in 2002 ─ the first full year of her fraud ─ spending the money on shopping trips, dry cleaning and going to the gym.

The next year, she piled up $109,000 in fraudulent purchases for groceries, travel and almost $38,000 in retail shopping.

In 2007 she spent $237,000, spending more than $71,000 decorating her newly-purchased home.

"These purchases were largely related to furnishing the new home with furniture, art work and appliances," Crown prosecutor John Semenoff said.


Videos

Photos