[JURIST] A former civil servant was found guilty Tuesday of defrauding the Canadian government of more than $1.6 million in the so-called sponsorship scandal [JURIST news archive] that helped bring down Canada's Liberal Party government in January. After seven days of deliberations, a jury in Montreal convicted Chuck Guité [CTV profile], a former bureaucrat in the Department of Public Works and Government Services [official website], of all five charges against him. Guité, 62, faces up to 14 years in prison when he is sentenced Friday. He pledged to appeal and said he would continue to act as his own lawyer.
Guité was in charge of the sponsorship program [CBC backgrounder] established to raise the profile of the Canadian federal government after voters in Quebec [JURIST news archive] narrowly defeated a 1995 referendum to declare the province sovereign. The program allegedly awarded lucrative contracts to ad agencies in return for little or no work. In April, advertising executive Paul Coffin received an 18-month prison sentence [JURIST report] after pleading guilty to 15 counts of fraud. CBC News has more. The Montreal Gazette has local coverage.