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Canada ad exec facing jail time for sponsorship scandal fraud

[JURIST] Vacating a lesser sentence, the Quebec Court of Appeal [official website] has imposed an 18-month prison term on Canadian advertising executive Paul Coffin, who last May pleaded guilty to 15 counts of fraud [JURIST report] in the federal sponsorship scandal [CBC backgrounder]. The trial court originally ordered [JURIST report] Coffin to serve a conditional sentence of two years in the community with a 9 PM curfew, the Canadian equivalent of provisional house arrest, but the Crown appealed the sentence [CP report], arguing it was too lenient to deter future attempts of fraud.

Coffin sent more than $1.5 million worth of falsified advertising invoices to the Canadian federal government between 1997 and 2002. The scandal developed during the term of former Liberal Party Prime Minister Jean Chretien [CBC profile] in the mid-1990's and involved the awarding of lucrative advertising contracts to Liberal ad agencies in Quebec in return for little or no work. It was extensively investigated by a judicial inquiry led by Justice John Gomery, who issued his most recent report [JURIST report] in February. CBC News has more.

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