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Suspended sentence for Sudbury payroll business owner

Sudbury (December 6, 2019) – The owner of the Sudbury payroll business Northern Payroll Services, Christine Evans, received a suspended sentence from an Ontario court for fraud related charges. Evans’ business got into financial distress, when she defaulted her responsibility to meet required CRA payments, her clients owed the agency. To cover the shortfalls, she used funds from other clients. Judge Keast linked a one-year probation order to the suspended sentence since she did not take any money for her personal gain, she pleaded guilty, and she paid full restitution to the victims.

A Sudbury court adjudicated the 55-year-old Christine Evans guilty in relation to her fraud related charges, the Sudbury Star reported. However, Judge John Keast called the sentence ‘a monumental error in judgment’.

Payroll business in trouble

Christine Evans is the owner of Northern Payroll Services. Her payroll business was contracted to do payroll work for various clients which included paying money her clients owed to the CRA. Northern Payroll Services got into financial distress when she failed to fulfill her duties and did not pay the tax agency. Thereafter, she used money from other clients to cover the shortfalls. Apparently, she was hoping to compensate for her deficits later.

The court heard, that she did not take any money for her personal gain. Nevertheless, three of her clients lost thousands of dollars because of her shortcomings. Consequently, Evans was facing Fraud Over $5,000, Breach Of Trust, and Theft Over $5,000 charges. However, Evans lawyer Edmond Paquette explained that she paid full restitution to her victims. To do so, she sold her house and a recreational vehicle. ‘She [Evans] knew better. She knows better. She did make things right and she had started to make restitutional payments even before she was charged,’ stated Paquette.

Judge calls sentence ‘a monumental error in judgment’

Also, judge Keast granted Evans that she had no criminal intent: ‘It’s not like you had ulterior motives to take people’s money for your own personal use. That’s not what happened here. You took money from a client in one case to cover up [a shortfall] and it got bigger and bigger and you couldn’t control the snowball. It’s a very sad situation. […] You simply made a business decision to make up for a shortfall with proceeds from other areas […] This is just a monumental error in judgment.’

Evans had no prior record and pleaded guilty. Subsequently, she received a suspended sentence in connection with a one-year probation order. Judge Keast imposed the following conditions on Evans: She must take assessment, counseling, and programs as directed. During the time of probation Evans must comply with the conditions.

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Paquette pointed out that two of the three victims and Northern Payroll Services’ former clients filed civil lawsuits against Evans. Northern RV won a judgment ordering her to pay $25,000 and the case of Sheri Tomchick, who was a client of Evans with several seniors care businesses, has been resolved. Costello Associates, the third victim, did not take legal actions.