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Mayor of London, Ontario convicted of fraud

Joe Fontana, courtesy of Balckburn News London, via YouTubeThe mayor of London, Ontario, convicted last Friday on three fraud-related charges stemming from his time as a federal cabinet minister, announced his resignation Monday.

Joe Fontana issued the statement days after he was found guilty of fraud, breach of trust and uttering forged documents.

A judge found that he forged an expenses document submitted to the House of Commons in 2005 that resulted in a $1,700 payment.

"I am taking this step out of respect for the office of the mayor, the people of London and our judicial system,” Fontana wrote in the statement, as reported by CBC News in Toronto.

Sentencing arguments are scheduled for July 15.

As a member of parliament, Fontana forged a contract from his son's wedding to make it look as though it was for a political event at the same venue, Superior Court Judge Bruce Thomas found last week.

Fontana admitted making seven changes -- including whiting out his wife's signature, replacing it with his own and writing the word "original" in quotation marks at the top -- to an existing contract with the Marconi Club for his son’s 2005 wedding.

He made it appear the event was one he had planned for then-finance minister Ralph Goodale at the same venue.

The Goodale event was not held at the Marconi Club after all, but Fontana testified he believed the club was still owed a $1,700 deposit from his MP budget, despite the club not asking for any money.

The judge said he did not believe Fontana's story, saying the evidence pointed to the check being mistakenly sent to the venue.

"Fontana intended for it to go directly to him," Judge Thomas said. "If the money had indeed gone to Fontana, no one would have been the wiser."


Julie DiMauro is the executive editor of FCPA Blog and can be reached here.