The Integrated Bankruptcy Enforcement Unit, comprised of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy (OSB), have charged two (2) Ottawa area business operators with offences related to their 2015 bankruptcies.
Roch St-Louis, age 57, of Casselman and his former spouse Claire Johnson, age 54, of Kanata, Ontario are scheduled to appear at the Ontario Court of Justice in Ottawa, on January 29th, 2019, where they will face charges in relation to the bankruptcy process.
They are jointly charged with Fraudulent Removal of Bankrupt's Property contrary to s. 198(1)(f) of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act. It is alleged that St-Louis and Johnson misappropriated over $375,000 from the bank account of their snow removal company, Ottawa Diamond Construction Inc. just a few weeks before assigning themselves into personal and corporate bankruptcy. It is also alleged that the now bankrupt company was not insolvent at all; rather, by forcing the bankruptcy of Ottawa Diamond Construction Inc., through the depletion of its bank account, Johnson and St-Louis wilfully circumvented the company's legitimate creditor priority resulting in a substantial loss to its suppliers and the public purse.
The bankruptcy system is intended to afford a fresh start for the honest but unfortunate debtor. However, there are instances where individuals abuse the system by failing to comply with their regulatory duties under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and/or engage in fraudulent activities contrary to the Criminal Code of Canada. Offenders are identified by the OSB detection programs or through complaints from creditors, licensed insolvency trustees or the general public.
Since January 2014, the Integrated Bankruptcy Enforcement Unit has charged 62 individuals with over 188 offences under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and 168 offences under the Criminal Code encompassing liabilities of approximately $112 million.
Should members of the public have any information related to bankruptcy fraud schemes they are urged to contact either the Ontario RCMP at 1-800-387-0020, the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy at 1-877-376-9902 or anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.