Claude Gauvin, former president of the Order of Chartered Accountants of Quebec, was temporarily disqualified from practicing his profession Wednesday morning on suspicion of seniors’ residence fraud.
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In a unanimous decision, the Disciplinary Council accepted the request of the Syndic of the Order, ordering the immediate suspension of Gauvin’s rights to practice the profession of Chartered Accountant and to use the title of Chartered Professional Accountant.
These are exceptional measures provided for in the Professional Code when proceedings are brought against a professional for an offense punishable with imprisonment of five years or more in respect of professional practice.
Jean Lanctot, a lawyer for syndic Paul Bouchard, argued that the arrangement was “the only acceptable measure that could urgently ensure the protection of the public”.
The problem is not out of the question
Our Bureau of Investigation revealed on October 7 that Claude Gauvin and his spouse, Lucie Couturier, discreetly repaid more than $207,000 at the Residence Cardinal-Vachon in Quebec City in February 2019.
The settlement ends a civil lawsuit that alleged they misappropriated amounts and services invoiced to the residence for personal gain, such as doing $75,000 worth of earthworks on their luxury residence.
However, these allegations made by the establishment have not been proven in court even today.
However, the pair’s sentences are far from over, as they were both indicted on September 29 on felony counts of fraud and theft over $5,000, which carry a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison.
The case will return to court on November 15.
Gauvin, who chaired his order’s board of directors from 2003 to 2005, in addition to being involved in several other major organizations in the Quebec region, attended the hearing by virtual means.
The 75-year-old man became emotional at times as he listened intently to the arguments of the opposing sides without speaking.
His counsel explained that the parties had agreed to several admissions and there was no intention of presenting oral evidence at this stage. There is therefore no dispute on the Trustee’s motion.
On his part, Mr. Lanctot delayed to prove that the offenses charged were related to the work of an accountant and that they were “substantially” likely to affect public confidence “not only vis-a-vis”. [de] the respondent himself, but also towards the profession”, in which “integrity is the cornerstone”.