London, Ont., mayor guilty of fraud, forgery

By: The Canadian Press

 | Jun 13, 2014 - 11:48 AM |
London Mayor Joe Fontana is pictured in London, Ont., on May 28, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley

London Mayor Joe Fontana is pictured in London, Ont., on May 28, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley

LONDON, Ont. - The mayor of London, Ont., has been found guilty on charges of fraud, forgery and breach of trust that date back to his time as a Liberal MP.

The judge in the trial of Joe Fontana said the former federal cabinet minister abused the public trust when he altered a contract that he submitted for expenses in 2005.

Fontana testified the $1,700 the government paid out was not for his son's wedding.

But Judge Bruce Thomas said the former MP concocted a story for the court with the president of the club where the wedding was held that was intended to create reasonable doubt.

"While I am perplexed as to why a man of such accomplishments might choose to take these actions for the sum of $1,700, I do not find that that detracts from the strength of the Crown's case," he said.

"I'm very surprised. Shocked, devastated by obviously the verdict," Fontana said after the verdict.

He had refused to step down as mayor while his trial was under way and did not say what the outcome means for his political future, saying that he will make a statement in the near future.

He is to be sentenced July 15.

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