Bad Beat: Three years after winning lottery, policeman in jail for fraud

Signs point way to police and prison. Stock photo by Getty Images

Gandhi once said Earth provides enough for a man’s need, but not for a man’s greed. Here is proof.

A Peel Region Police constable, Carlton Watson, was sentenced this week to five years in federal prison after being found guilty of 42 out of 45 counts of insurance fraud, obstructing justice, and breach of trust. He admitted to writing fake accident reports without attending the scene. The phony accidents are estimated to have cost insurers roughly $1 million.

Watson was first suspended from the force in 2011 when Canada’s Insurance Bureau started investigating him for a number of accident reports filed in 2010. He was paid his full salary while suspended for four years. The Police Services Act of Ontario does not allow for a chief of police to suspend an officer without pay until a period of incarceration is ordered. Now after being sentenced, the Peel police chief says she will seek Watson’s dismissal from the force.

The judge who handed down the sentence acknowledged Watson to have no savings and an ill wife, even though Watson was given $500,000 in salary during his suspension from 2011 to 2015 and also won the OLG lottery in 2012 for $275,000.

How is this appropriate use of the public purse? Anyone else thinking of amending the Police Services Act?

Behold! The “Vaulter” is arrested at last

Here are the clues. He robbed 21 Canadian banks in the last five years. His technique was to jump over bank counters, like a hurdler, and the Canadian Bankers Association had a $100,000 reward out for information on him.

Did you guess: “The Vaulter”? Right on.

The 53-year-old dual French-American citizen, Jeffery James Shuman, was arrested by Swiss police in Geneva this week, while casually driving his compact car.

Shuman robbed banks in Mississauga, Toronto, Calgary, and Vaughan among other places and will be facing a slew of charges after he is extradited to Canada.

The CBA says it will pay the $100,000 if the information provided to the police led to the arrest and ultimately the conviction of Shuman. If no one claims the reward, the money should be donated to members of the national hurdling team, who use their skills good.

Crown accused of malicious prosecution of decorated veteran

Master Corporal Collin Fitzgerald, a decorated veteran of Canada’s military involvement in Afghanistan, feels he is being maliciously prosecuted even though the Crown has evidence that should absolve him.

Fitzgerald was arrested in 2014 in the vicinity of his former house near Iroquois that had just been burnt due to a seemingly deliberate fire. Fitzgerald’s bail conditions, from a previous charge of criminal harassment and intimidation of a police officer, did not permit his presence in Iroquois. He was required to live at his parents’ house in Morrisburg and stay away from his ex-wife.

He says the Crown has phone records that show he was at his parents’ house during the time that the police say he was around the fire. He also maintains his lawyer has video surveillance showing Fitzgerald did not leave the house that night.

Fitzgerald believes the police are treating him like a “nut job,” because he is taking a lot of medication for his post-traumatic stress disorder and has had a few not-so-clean interactions with cops. In 2013, he was involved in a five-hour standoff, where he apparently locked himself inside his home and threatened to blow it up.

Following his arrest for breaching his bail condition, the veteran has been ordered to leave Morrisburg and live in Brockville, Ont. with other family until his case returns to court on October 1.

If the court sides with him on malicious prosecution, his breach-of-bail-condition charge will likely be tossed and he may collect damages for any economic loss or mental anguish related to the charge.

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