BY KEITH LACEY
A local man who pleaded guilty to a long and lucrative case of welfare fraud was sentenced to 12 months of house arrest Friday.
Richard J. Theriault, 42, admitted to collecting just over $56,000 in Ontario Works benefits between September of 1995 and March of 2000, while also collecting a disability pension from the Canada Pension Plan (CPP).
Assistant Crown attorney Alex Kurke told the court Theriault worked with four Ontario Works case workers during this five-year span. At no time did he reveal to any of them that he was collecting the disability pension and Ontario Works benefits at the same time.
Defence counsel William Beach told the court Theriault suffers from numerous physical problems, including asthma and sleep apnea.
Theriault is the father of two children and lives with a woman with two children of her own, said Beach.
Theriault has a minor criminal record for crimes of dishonesty. This factored into the decision to ask for 12 months of house arrest as part of a conditional sentence to be served in the community, said Kurke.
Justice William Fitzgerald agreed to the joint submission that Theriault be placed under house arrest, and placed him on 12 months of probation once his sentence expires.
Theriault will be allowed to leave his home three hours each day between 10 am and 1 pm and for medical and religious appointments, and for any other reason approved in writing by his probation officer.
Theriault was also ordered to repay the $56,000 he defrauded as part of a restitution order to Ontario Works Sudbury.
No mention was made at the sentencing hearing if any money will be deducted from his monthly CPP disability pension to pay restitution to Ontario Works.
The inquest into the death of a Sudbury woman who died under house arrest for welfare fraud continues Monday after one week off. Kimberly Rogers, 40, was found dead in her West End apartment Aug. 9, 2001. She was sentenced to six months of house arrest after pleading guilty to collecting $13,500 in Ontario Works benefits while collecting student loans of $32,000 between the fall of 1996 and fall of 1999.
The inquest has heard Rogers died of an overdose of anti-depression medication. Rogers stockpiled more than 1,300 anti-depression pills in the 10 weeks before she died. One of the inquest jury?s main duties is to determine if Rogers committed suicide or died from an accidental overdose.