Senator Pamela Wallin is escorted by assistant Mark Fisher as she arrives at the Senate on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013. Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press
Senator Pamela Wallin committed fraud and breach of trust by filing inappropriate travel and living expensesinside a three-year period, the RCMP allege in court documents obtained by CBC News.
Wallin is the fourth senator the RCMP has accused of allegedly committing criminal offences in recent months. The RCMP laid accusations against former Conservative senators Patrick Brazeau and Mike Duffy, as well as former Liberal senator Mac Harb, who retired from the Senate in August.
The documents filed in court on Oct. 28 by Const. Michael Johnson of the RCMP National Division allege that Wallin committed fraud and breach of trust by making inappropriate expense claims between Jan. 2, 2009, and Sept. 30, 2012.
Johnson also alleges Wallin "defrauded the Senate" in an amount exceeding $5,000 "by deceit, falsehood, or other fraudulent means."
"I believe Senator Pamela Wallin has committed the offences of breach of trust and fraud," Johnson wrote in an affidavit.
The RCMP are seeking more documents and data from the Senate related to changes Wallin made in her electronic and handwritten calendars.
According to Johnson, the "inconsistencies and discrepancies" in her calendars warrant further investigation and "a forensic review" of her calendars and expenses will provide "evidence" of criminal wrongdoing.
Wallin's lawyer, Terrence O'Sullivan, told CBC News on Friday afternoon "we believe that an objective review of all of the evidence will show that there was no attempt to defraud the people of Canada or commit breach of trust."
"The forensic auditors found no evidence of fraud or fiddling with expenses," O'Sullivan said.
The RCMP allegations against Wallin come as the Senate is debating her fate and that of two other senators. The Senate will debate next week a new motion to suspend her, Brazeau, and Duffy without pay while allowing them to retain some medical benefits. It is not clear what will become of their pensions if they are suspended without pay.
The RCMP have not laid charges against Wallin, nor have the allegations against her been proven in court.
Wallin's 'sense of entitlement'
The allegations are contained in the information to obtain a production order filed with the court to aid in the RCMP's investigation.
In the production order, Johnson also lists five interviews the RCMP conducted with key witnesses as part of his grounds for the allegations against Wallin.
During an interview with the RCMP on Sept. 23, Marjory LeBreton, then the government leader in the Senate, said she believes Wallin "has a sense of entitlement."
Despite LeBreton's personal view of the former broadcaster, LeBreton "does not believe that Wallin has committed any criminal offence and does not feel that the senator tried to scam the system," the RCMP said.
LeBreton told the RCMP she spoke to Wallin in October 2012 about her "serious" problems with expense claims.
The matter was brought to LeBreton's attention after a staffer working for Wallin made allegations against her with respect to her expense claims and bookkeeping.
LeBreton thought Wallin could easily resolve the matter by comparing her calendars with her expense claims.
In the court documents, Johnson notes the senator from Saskatchewan has maintained that her primary residence is in Wadena, Sask., so she can collect travel allowances from the Senate. But Johnson believes Wallin "uses her Toronto condo as her primary residence."
On Sept. 30, the RCMP interviewed Nicole Proulx, the Senate director of finance who said she identified issues with Wallin's expenses between 2009 and 2012 and spoke to Wallin about them on several occasions.
In 2009, Proulx, accompanied by Senate clerk Gary O'Brien, spoke to Wallin about issues surrounding her travel claims from Toronto. In 2012, they spoke to her again about her "travel irregularities."
The irregularities, according to the RCMP, included "a high percentage of travel claims without a specific purpose listed, a high percentage of stopovers in Toronto for Senate business, and concerns over the high cost of car services."
Expensive car service
Proulx objected to the cost of Wallin's "car service" as early as 2010, rejecting her claims as being too expensive.
Wallin pleaded her case before a Senate internal economy subcommittee composed of three of her colleagues. The trio overturned the rejection of her car service claims, effectively overruling Proulx.
The car service costs were brought up by Deloitte auditors when they met with members of the Senate internal economy committee in August. Deloitte told the committee Wallin's claims were for $80 trips, starting from the island airport in downtown Toronto and ending at Wallin's mid-town condo. The auditors told the committee a trip of that distance would normally be a $30 fare in a taxi.
Deloitte auditors told the committee a slightly different story than the one Proulx told to the RCMP.
Wallin's car expense had actually been curtailed, Alan Stewart of Deloitte told Senator Jane Cordy, a committee member. "This was an issue that Senate Finance raised with Senator Wallin at one stage, and so the claims for the car service became less after a point in time. I do not remember when that was," he said.
RCMP wants Wallin's calendars
Deloitte is expected to provide the RCMP with a long list of documents and data which include the "travel and event descriptions, together with Microsoft Word monthly calendars listing events, and handwritten calendars related to travel expense claims."
Gary Timm, a partner at Deloitte, is cooperating with the RCMP and has said he has no issue providing the information within 30 days from the day the RCMP filed the court documents.
The Deloitte audit showed that the majority of the money Wallin claimed – $390,182 of $532,508 – was in keeping with Senate practices.
The auditors found Wallin had inappropriately claimed $121,348. Deloitte determined that an additional $20,978 was subject to Senate interpretation. The Senate determined that Wallin had to pay back $17,621.98 of that amount.
Wallin has paid back a total of $138,969 in ineligible claims.
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