Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ex-Politician Who Bilked Nova Scotia of $25,000 Sentenced to House Arrest

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ex-Politician Who Bilked Nova Scotia of $25,000 Sentenced to House Arrest

Article excerpt

Ex-politician gets house arrest for fraud

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YARMOUTH, N.S. - A former Nova Scotia cabinet minister who bilked the province of more than $25,000 was sentenced Friday to a year of house arrest after the judge presiding over his case concluded his crimes weren't serious enough to warrant a jail term.

Richard Hurlburt left the courtroom saying he would now devote his time to his family and the town of Yarmouth, an area he represented for more than a decade in the provincial legislature before he abruptly quit public life amid allegations of fraud.

"I respect the court's decision today and I will abide by everything the court has laid out to me," he said.

"My goal now is to show my love back to my wife, my family and my friends ... and help rebuild my community."

Hurlburt, 62, pleaded guilty in April to charges of fraud and breach of trust in the province's constituency spending scandal.

The former Progressive Conservative cabinet minister defrauded the public purse of $25,321 between December 2006 and December 2008, according to an agreed statement of facts entered in the province's Supreme Court.

He submitted false claims including one for a $9,000 generator that wasn't bought, court heard. He was also given more than $3,500 for the purchase and installation of a 40-inch LCD television at his home.

Before he was charged last year, Hurlburt initially defended the generator as a valid expense, saying it could be used by a nearby seniors' home and ground search and rescue teams in emergencies. Court later heard he bought a cheaper generator and had it installed at his home.

Still, Judge David MacAdam said a jail sentence would have been inappropriate, given the circumstances of Hurlburt's case.

"I am satisfied there are no aggravating circumstances other than abuse of public trust," MacAdam said.

"The amount involved is substantially less than the amounts for which others have been sentenced to jail."

Hurlburt is the second former politician to plead guilty in the province's spending scandal after Dave Wilson admitted to defrauding taxpayers of $61,000 to feed a gambling addiction. The former Liberal was sentenced in April to nine months in jail. …

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