A couple convicted of evading income taxes of more than $90,000 over a four-year period ended up with jail sentences.
Alida residents Norman and Dorothy Desautels were found guilty on Feb. 27 by Judge Karl Bazin. Norman was found guilty of evading income taxes between 2004 and 2008, assisting Dorothy in receiving a child-tax credit to which they were not entitled, as well as failing to remit roughly $6,600 of GST that he received through his oil-well servicing business.
Dorothy was found guilty of evading income taxes by not reporting Norman’s income and for receiving the child-tax credit of about $8,800.
The couple has been in custody since failing to attend the sentencing hearing on April 26. Norman was sentenced to one year in jail and ordered to pay a fine of $105,922.47, while Dorothy received six months in jail and a fine of $99,548.80. The fines are equal to 100 per cent of the evaded tax, tax credit and unremitted GST.
In his decision, Bazin equated the Desautels’ actions to a “long-term fraud.”
“The GST conviction for Norman Desautels and the conviction for the child-tax benefit is nothing short of deliberate theft,” said Bazin. “The Desautels’ actions speak louder than their words. They did what they did for money.”
An aggravating factor to these offences is the time frame, as the Desautels failed to complete tax returns from 2004 to 2008.
Bazin said the Desautels’ actions are further aggravating because they continued to benefit from a tax system that they stopped paying into, noting that they accepted a child-tax credit and Norman charged companies GST through his business.
“He simply charges them the GST and does not remit the money to Revenue Canada. Such an act shows that despite what he professes, that his reason for not following the Excise Tax Act is based on it not being legal and his profession that there is only one law, being God’s law, actually tells us that, at the end of the day, he did it for the money,” said Bazin.
“The evasion of tax, the receipt of child tax and GST is done out of personal desire and greed. They simply carry on their lives, which includes trips and holidays.”
As the Desautels refused to participate in completing a pre-sentence report, there was little in terms of mitigating factors for Bazin to go over. He did note Dorothy has no previous criminal record and that Norman has very limited and unrelated convictions.
The Desautels each have five years to pay their fines, and could face further jail time in default of payment of those fines. Their jail terms began as of April 26 when they were arrested and held in custody.
Bazin asked the Desautels if they had any questions, but cut them off when it was clear they had other statements to make.
They both then asked the judge, “Do you hold us against our will?” a question Bazin ignored.
The Desautels also were charged with failing to attend court as they were absent from the sentencing hearing in April. Both refused to enter a plea, so Bazin entered not guilty pleas for them. A trial for those matters was set for July 26.