BY KEITH LACEY
Â?Call us one frustrated family.Â?
Those words Wednesday from Bruno Michel, a local business owner whose family was victimized by a former bookkeeper who stole almost $400,000 during a four-year period.
Francois Pelletier, 36, was scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday after pleading guilty in early February to defrauding several Michel family businesses between November 1998 and April 2002.
However, assistant Crown attorney Len Walker told Justice Louise Gauthier of the Ontario Court of Justice Pelletier has made some efforts to begin restitution and Â?in all fairness to the accusedÂ? a brief adjournment was in order.
Gauthier agreed to delay sentencing against Pelletier until May 15.
The Michel family owns GloriaÂ?s Restaurant, GloriaÂ?s Video and A and J Home Hardware, three businesses located in the Regency Mall on Bouchard Street in SudburyÂ?s South End.
It was revealed in February Pelletier turned himself into police days after being confronted and fired by the Michel family after financial indiscretions were uncovered.
Pelletier admitted to stealing from payroll, rents paid in cash and debit card withdrawals from the business account. During the period in question, Pelletier made approximately 730 unauthorized transactions for personal purchases or cash withdrawals totaling $312,950.
There were approximately 120 Â?questionableÂ? transactions made at office supply stores totalling just under $41,000.
The investigation revealed Pelletier often paid himself excessive amounts and a great deal of that money was free and clear of all deductions for employment insurance, Canada Pension and income tax.
The investigation revealed Pelletier paid himself an additional $52,000 over four years from inflated payroll and amounts over and above those indicated on time cards. None of the $370,000 has been recovered.
Bruno Michel told reporters the adjournment was asked for because Pelletier agreed to sign over a house he co-owns with his male partner.
PelletierÂ?s partner wonÂ?t leave the premises even though his lawyer has told him his family is now the rightful owner, said Michel.
The house is also in disarray as an addition is completely unfinished, he said.
His lawyer has told him Pelletier and his partner paid $78,000 for the home, but still owe around $52,000 Â?and it just doesnÂ?t appear to have much valueÂ?just call us one frustrated family,Â? said Michel.
The police investigation has been unable to discover where most of the missing $370,000 went and thatÂ?s unfortunate, said Michel.