Accused of fraud and theft, the former president of the Order of Accountants could be suspended urgently

Accused of fraud and theft, the former president of the Order accountants could be suspended as a matter of urgency

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The Order of Chartered Professional Accountants of Quebec wants to urgently suspend its ex-president Claude Gauvin, who is criminally charged with his spouse of having defrauded a residence for seniors in the National Capital.

The syndic of the Order, Paule Bouchard, will present this Wednesday morning a request “for the issuance of an order for the provisional and immediate suspension of the right to practice the profession and to use the title of professional accountant accredited,” said spokesperson Maude Bujeault-Bolduc to Journal.

The law allows a trustee to have recourse to this exceptional procedure “when he is of the opinion that a lawsuit brought against a professional for an offense punishable by five years' imprisonment or more is related to the exercise of the profession”.

The charges against Claude Gauvin and his spouse, Lucie Couturier, who was general manager of the Résidence Cardinal-Vachon, in Quebec, are indeed important.

Both were charged with fraud and theft over $5,000 on September 29. Such crimes, if proven, carry a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison.

Our Bureau of Investigation revealed, on October 7, that Gauvin and Couturier discreetly reimbursed more than $207,000 to the Residence Cardinal-Vachon, in February 2019. This put an end to a civil lawsuit brought against them by the establishment, which alleged that they had engaged in “wrongful and dishonest” embezzlement for years.

The Gauvin-Couturier couple would have paid with the funds of the Résidence Cardinal-Vachon in particular for a new terrace at $75,000 as well as several pieces of furniture and appliances for their luxurious house in the Lebourgneuf district.

Claude Gauvin, in addition to having allegedly benefited from the sums which would have been misappropriated, rendered accounting services for the Résidence Cardinal-Vachon. He would have received more than $100,000 to do so over the years, while the board of directors of the establishment believed that he rendered these services voluntarily.

Aged 75, he chaired the Order of Chartered Professional Accountants of Quebec from 2003 to 2005, in addition to sitting on a myriad of boards of directors over the years, including that of the Carnival of Quebec, the Chamber of Commerce de Québec and the Laval University Foundation.

He was until recently associated with the Québec office of the firm Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton. He still has, to this day, the professional status of FCPA auditor.

Lucie Couturier, a nurse by profession, had retrained as a vaccinator for the CIUSSS de la Capitale-Nationale after her dismissal from the Résidence Cardinal -Vachon. But on October 7, after our revelations, the CIUSSS indicated that its human resources department would conduct an investigation into his case.

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