The former president of the Private Security Syndicate in Quebec allegedly managed to embezzle more than $422,000 of workers' money, which he allegedly used to buy condos and a car from luxury.
Patrick Pellerin, fired on December 16 by his union and targeted by a criminal investigation, was leading the charge as president of local 8922 of the Steelworkers, affiliated with the FTQ. He led an association of 16,000 members who earn modest salaries, including security guards and flagmen.
But until December 2020, he was said to have lined his pockets at the expense of workers thanks to a “sophisticated fraud scheme”, alleges the United Steelworkers.
He allegedly used his position as union president to give two bogus contracts to a company owned by his son's girlfriend. In particular, he allegedly used the pretext of creating a website that never existed.
In the end, the funds ended up in two of his accounts at the Royal Bank, according to the Steelworkers. No less than 80 fraudulent transactions have reportedly been listed.
A series of court documents and notices of seizure consulted by our Bureau of Investigation show that the union president in particular acquired the following assets thanks to the sums diverted:
- A condo on the edge of the ski slopes in Stoneham, north of Quebec
- Another condo in Trois-Rivières
- A sedan of luxury 2021 Acura TLX
Attempt to liquidate its assets
It was the Sûreté du Québec that alerted the union on December 15 , by carrying out a search.
The next day, Pellerin was fired. Within hours, he put his car up for sale for $53,000 on the Kijiji website. A few weeks later, he also put his Stoneham condo on the market for $350,000.
“The attempt to liquidate his valuable assets comes just days after the search warrant and the discoveries […] of fraudulent acts,” said Vincent Boily, Acting President of Local 8922, in a sworn statement provided to the court.
The union has obtained the seizure of the assets of its ex-president, fearing that these will be squandered, especially since Pellerin “uses pseudonyms” to put them up for sale, according to Mr. Boily.
Website not found
In a brief statement of his defense filed in court on 24 last May, Pellerin “denies having maneuvered to appropriate any sum whatsoever”.
“Both contracts, design and analysis, did lead to services rendered,” he said in writing, assuring that he had done “personally.” follow-ups.
According to him, if it is impossible to access the website, it is because his son's spouse, whose company had obtained the contracts, died on December 25, 2020.
« 'host GoDaddy, with whom [his son's girlfriend] was doing business for the hosting of the sites she was designing, did not make it possible to obtain the source code of the site ,
“The fact that a WordPress platform was used for the design of the website makes the task of recovering said source code rather difficult”, also indicates Pellerin, who is a security officer by trade.
The United Steelworkers Local 8922 has been in trust since the dismissal of Patrick Pellerin last December.
Last week, our Bureau of Investigation revealed that four Steelworkers union officers, including Mr. Pellerin, had been fired for alleged embezzlement.
“It’s theft. We cannot tolerate that, and we will never tolerate it,” Quebec Steelworkers director Dominic Lemieux assured in an interview about these cases.
SEIZED BY STEELWORKERS
CONDO IN STONEHAM
CONDO IN TROIS-RIVIÈRES
2021 ACURA TLX, BLACK
– With the collaboration of Nicolas Brasseur and Frédéric Marcoux
THE ALLEGED STRATAGEM
1 Between December 2019 and December 2020, Patrick Pellerin would have maneuvered so that the union pays$18,051.05 to Effervescence, the company of Marie-Claude Châteauneuf, his son's girlfriend, for the creation of a website.
But this website “just never existed”, according to the Steelworkers.
2 Between January 2019 and December 2020, Pellerin would have maneuvered so that the union pays 404,305.95 $ to Effervescence, for the ” insurance component of the V1 Go “.
The United Steelworkers affirms that ” these expenses n 'were in any way authorized, that they did not lead to any service rendered', and that another company had moreover been mandated by the union to supply them.
3 The Sûreté du Québec established that between January 23, 2019 and July 3, 2020, a total amount of $309,434.40 was transferred in several installments from the bank account of Effervescence towards two accounts of Patrick Pellerin at the Royal Bank.
“ While he was earning a salary of approximately $100,000 [Patrick Pellerin] managed to acquire in as little as two years, and this, thanks to the diverted funds, two new buildings […] in addition to obtaining a new luxury vehicle”, according to Vincent Boily, the new president of the union.
4 Marie-Claude Châteauneuf took her own life on December 25, 2020.
“Prior to her death”, she contacted a trustee in bankruptcy to explain “that it was the object of a fraud orchestrated by [Pellerin] and his son ”, explains Mr. Boily.
The trustee then contacted the Sûreté du Québec , who conducted various searches and notified the union on December 15, 2021. No criminal charges have been laid to date.
Average Salary of a Security Guard
Average salary of a traffic signalman
Source: Indeed.ca, data for Quebec as of 15 June 2022
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