LAVAL, Que.—A judge has accepted a joint Crown-defence recommendation that a former prominent Quebec mayor be sentenced to six years in prison for fraud.
Ex-Laval mayor Gilles Vaillancourt pleaded guilty two weeks ago to three fraud-related charges and was incarcerated after defence and Crown lawyers agreed to the six-year jail term.
Quebec Superior Court Justice James Brunton had to sign off on the deal and did so Thursday.
Vaillancourt, 75, must also reimburse about $7 million, mostly from Swiss bank accounts, as well as hand over his condominium to the city he headed for 23 years.
Crown prosecutor Richard Rougeau has estimated the fraud totalled several dozen million dollars between 1996 and 2010.
The City of Laval will take possession of his $1-million condominium as well as a sum of $300,000. Vaillancourt, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy, fraud and breach of trust, will also be deprived of $300,000 in pension payments.
The Crown said it was pleased with the judge’s decision.
“This sentence, suggested by both parties, is the fruit of very long discussions, long negotiations that culminated on Dec. 1,” Rougeau said. “The judge decided, after analyzing it, that the suggestion made by both parties was adequate, in accordance with the jurisprudence and in accordance with the crimes committed.”
Vaillancourt was mayor of Quebec’s third-largest city between 1989 and 2012 and earned the nickname “The Monarch.”
He was among 37 people originally arrested in May 2013 by Quebec’s anti-corruption unit.
He originally faced a dozen charges including conspiracy, fraud and corruption-related counts. He was also charged with gangsterism, which was eventually dropped.
The arrest came just months after the cloud of suspicion forced Vaillancourt to quit politics in November 2012.
In the weeks leading up to the mass arrests, police had raided numerous engineering firms and businesses in addition to Vaillancourt’s own home, condo, offices and his bank safety-deposit boxes.