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Canadian ad executive sentenced to prison for fraud in sponsorship scandal

[JURIST] A Quebec court Wednesday sentenced former Canadian advertising executive Jean LaFleur to 42 months in prison for his role in the Canadian federal sponsorship scandal [JURIST news archive; CBC backgrounder]. Lafleur pleaded guilty in April [JURIST report] to billing the Canadian federal government for work which was never done, and ultimately bilking the government of almost $1.6 million in contracts his advertising firm obtained through a program designed to increase the federal government's presence in Quebec. His advertising firm, LaFleur Marketing and Communications (LCM), received $65 million through the federal sponsorship program between 1995 and 2003. Judge Suzanne Coupal handed down Wednesday's sentence, along with orders to reimburse the defrauded program the $1.6 million.

Lafleur is the not the first person charged in relation to the scandal. In May 2005, former Montreal advertising executive Paul Coffin pleaded guilty [JURIST report] to 15 counts of fraud, and former federal civil servant Chuck Guite [CTV profile] was found guilty [JURIST report] of defrauding the government in June 2006. In 2005, Justice John Gomery released a report [JURIST report] castigating former Canadian prime minister Jean Chretien and his chief of staff, Jean Pelletier, for the flawed running of the federal sponsorship program from 1994 to 2003. CBC News has more.

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