Fraudster earns house arrest

A Toronto man was sentenced to six months house arrest for defrauding his employer of $99,000.

But Dennis Chong, 49, must also repay the outstanding balance, some $25,000, or face time in jail Mr. Justice Todd Archibald, of the Ontario Superior Court, ruled Tuesday.

According to a statement of facts read out to the court, Chong became an accountant with Invisions Productions in 2001 and had access to company credit cards, cheques, payroll records, job estimates and accounts payable and receivable.

Lydia Sani and Les Truxa, partners of the company, testified they noticed suspicious financial activity on Chong’s part in 2006 and launched an investigation.

They discovered that over a five-year period, beginning in 2002, Chong had diverted $99,000 of company funds to his own personal account. He had used the money to pay off personal and family debts.

In light of Chong’s cooperation and attempts at restitution, Crown prosecutor Eugene McDermott urged house arrest, telling Mr. Justice Archibald he was satisfied that Chong had made a serious effort to payback what he had stolen and could continue those efforts while under house arrest.

But, submitted the Crown, if the remaining money was not paid within six months Chong should serve his sentence in jail.

Defence counsel Scott Fenton told the court that Chong had been set back financially after receiving a cut in his salary in 2002. According to Fenton, Chong was a first-time offender and is the main provider for his wife and two young daughters.

Chong, 49, of Arran Crescent, pleaded guilty to one charge of fraud over $5,000 on Jan. 20.