Thir­teen peo­ple plead guilty in mu­nic­i­pal fraud scheme in Laval

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - CANADA -

LAVAL, Que. — Thir­teen peo­ple have pleaded guilty in a fraud scheme in­volv­ing the award­ing of mu­nic­i­pal con­tracts in the Mon­treal-area com­mu­nity of Laval.

The eight busi­ness­men and five engi­neers en­tered the guilty pleas in court Tues­day. Sen­tenc­ing ar­gu­ments are also tak­ing place, with the defence and Crown rec­om­mend­ing 12 months to two years less a day, to be served in the com­mu­nity, for most of the ac­cused.

Ini­tially, 37 peo­ple were charged in 2013, in­clud­ing Gilles Vail­lan­court, who served as Laval mayor for 23 straight years un­til he quit pol­i­tics in the fall of 2012. Vail­lan­court even­tu­ally pleaded guilty to fraud, con­spir­acy to com­mit fraud and breach of trust. He also agreed to re­im­burse $8.5 mil­lion and was sen­tenced to about six years in prison. Some of the 37 ac­cused have since died, while oth­ers have had their charges dropped be­cause of the length of time it was tak­ing for their cases to get to trial.

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