Fraud­ster en­rolled for PHD at Uvic un­der alias

Times Colonist - - Front Page - ROB SHAW rshaw@times­colonist.com

A con­victed fraud­ster, who used a fake name to land a govern­ment job, also got a master’s de­gree un­der the same alias from the Univer­sity of Vic­to­ria, and is now en­rolled in a PhD pro­gram at the school.

Richard Ernest Wainwright was sen­tenced to one year in pri­son and two years pro­ba­tion by a provin­cial court judge Fri­day, af­ter be­ing found guilty of forg­ing a crim­i­nal record check as “Richard Per­ran” to hide his pre­vi­ous crim­i­nal con­vic­tions and land a govern­ment po­si­tion.

None­the­less, Wainwright has en­rolled in a PhD pro­gram in UVic’s fac­ulty of ed­u­ca­tion, us­ing the Per­ran sur­name.

And he com­pleted a master’s de­gree in ed­u­ca­tion from the univer­sity two years ago, also un­der the name Per­ran.

Wainwright’s jail sen­tence came with cour­tordered pro­ba­tion con­di­tions that he not ob­tain ed­u­ca­tional de­grees or cer­tifi­cates in other names.

That rul­ing throws into flux Wainwright’s UVic ed­u­ca­tion. The case also raises ques­tions about how the univer­sity was duped into award­ing a master’s de­gree, and grant­ing a PhD po­si­tion, to a man us­ing a fic­ti­tious iden­tity. It’s un­clear if his master’s de­gree even re­mains valid.

Dur­ing his trial, the court heard Wainwright pos­sessed nu­mer­ous pieces of fed­eral and provin­cial iden­ti­fi­ca­tion in both names, in­clud­ing driver’s li­cences and so­cial in­sur­ance num­bers.

But Per­ran is not his le­gal sur­name. It was his ex-part­ner’s sur­name. The court heard Per­ran never went through proper pro­ce­dures in B.C. to legally change his name.

As Wainwright, he had a crim­i­nal his­tory of fraud, theft, coun­ter­feit­ing and unau­tho­rized use of credit card data.

So, when he ap­plied for a B.C. govern­ment job in 2006, he used the sur­name Per­ran on his crim­i­nal record check form, along with his Per­ran IDs, to pro­duce a clean his­tory.

Then, he al­tered the form to change the name to “Wainwright-Per­ran” and sub­mit­ted it to govern­ment. He was fired from his job as a su­per­vi­sor in the Ministry of Chil­dren and Fam­ily De­vel­op­ment in 2008 af­ter the fraud was dis­cov­ered.

Be­fore his ter­mi­na­tion, Wainwright re­ceived $7,986.43 in tax­payer­funded schol­ar­ship money from a pro­gram ear­marked to help civil ser­vants im­prove their ed­u­ca­tion.

He used the money, un­der the name Per­ran, to take master’s de­gree cour­ses in ed­u­ca­tional psy­chol­ogy and lead­er­ship stud­ies. He grad­u­ated in 2010.

It’s not known to what ex­tent UVic was aware of Wainwright’s dual iden­ti­ties.

It was sug­gested in court pre-sen­tenc­ing doc­u­ments that Wainwright had in­formed the univer­sity to some ex­tent about his crim­i­nal charges, though the judge pub­licly ques­tioned whether UVic knew Wainwright’s full his­tory.

The univer­sity of­fered no im­me­di­ate ex­pla­na­tion as to how Wainwright made his way through the reg­is­tra­tion process with­out rais­ing any red flags.

“The univer­sity will in­ves­ti­gate and take ac­tion as ap­pro­pri­ate,” said spokes­woman Denise Helm.

In gen­eral, hav­ing a crim­i­nal record does not pre­clude some­one from en­rolling in UVic, she said.

“The univer­sity takes al­le­ga­tions of mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion very se­ri­ously,” said Helm.

UVic can’t comment on Wainwright’s PhD sta­tus, or what im­pact the con­vic­tion and court con­di­tions could have on his ed­u­ca­tional fu­ture, due to pri­vacy re­stric­tions, she said.

Wainwright’s de­fence lawyer, Kirk Karaszkiewicz, had at­tempted to ar­gue dur­ing trial that Wainwright had legally changed his sur­name by deed poll in the United King­dom.

But Judge Loretta Chap­eron noted Wainwright was charged, con­victed and sen­tenced un­der his le­gal name of Wainwright.

The Wainwright case proved a ma­jor em­bar­rass­ment for the govern­ment when it was un­cov­ered by the Times Colonist in late 2009. It prompted two in­ter­nal re­views and an over­haul of crim­i­nal record checks for civil ser­vants.

DAR­REN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

When he was sen­tenced for fraud, Richard Wainwright was or­dered by the judge to re­frain from earn­ing ed­u­ca­tional de­grees un­der any other name.

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