Fraud: $422,000 diverted from union

The former president of Quebec’s Private Security Syndicate is said to have managed to embezzle more than $422,000 of workers’ money, which he allegedly used to buy condos and a luxury car.

• Also read: Serial embezzlement among steelworkers

• Also read: Investigation into fraud at a union

Patrick Pellerin, who was fired from his union on December 16 and the target of a criminal investigation, went ahead as president of Steelworkers Local 8922, which is affiliated with the FTQ. He headed an association of 16,000 members who earn modest salaries, including security guards and flag bearers.

But by December 2020, he was reportedly lining his pockets at workers’ expense through an “elaborate fraud scheme,” claims the United Steelworkers.

He is said to have used his position as union president to award two bogus contracts to a company owned by his son’s girlfriend. In particular, he is said to have used the pretext of creating a website that never existed.

In the end, according to Steelworkers, the funds ended up in two of his Royal Bank accounts. No fewer than 80 fraudulent transactions were listed.

A number of legal documents and seizure notices reviewed by our Bureau of Investigation show that the embezzled funds would have enabled the union president to obtain:

  • A condo on the edge of the ski slopes in Stoneham, north of Quebec
  • Another condominium in Trois-Rivières
  • A 2021 Acura TLX luxury sedan

Attempt to liquidate his assets

It was the Sûreté du Québec that alerted the union on December 15 with a search.

Pellerin was fired the next day. Within hours, he was listing his car for sale on the Kijiji website for $53,000. 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 discoveries […] fraudulent acts,” said Vincent Boily, acting president of Local 8922, in an affidavit presented to the court.

The union has secured the confiscation of its ex-president’s assets, fearing it will go to waste, especially as Pellerin is “using pseudonyms” to put it up for sale, according to Mr Boily.

Website not found

In a brief statement from his defense filed in court on May 24, Pellerin denies “maneuvering to appropriate any amount.”

“Both contracts, design and analysis, actually resulted in services rendered,” he said in writing, assuring that he “personally” followed up.

If it’s “impossible” to access the site, that’s because his son’s spouse, whose company received the contracts, died on December 25, 2020.

“Steps with the host GoDaddy, with who [la petite amie de son fils] Doing business to host the websites he designed didn’t make it possible to obtain the website’s source code,” he argues.

“The fact that a WordPress platform was used to design the website makes the task of recovering said source code quite difficult,” agrees Pellerin, who is a security officer by trade.

United Steelworkers’ local 8922 has been in trust since Patrick Pellerin was fired last December.

Last week our Bureau of Investigation revealed that four steelworkers’ union officials, including Mr Pellerin, had been fired on alleged embezzlement charges.

“It’s theft. We cannot tolerate this, and we will never tolerate it,” Steelworkers of Quebec director Dominic Lemieux assured in an interview on these cases.

CONDO IN STONEHAM


Patrick Pellerin

CONDO IN TROIS-RIVIÈRES


Patrick Pellerin

Screenshot from Google Maps

2021 ACURA TLX, IN BLACK COLOR


Patrick Pellerin

Photo courtesy of Acura Canada

– With the collaboration of Nicolas Brasseur and Frédéric Marcoux

1 Between December 2019 and December 2020, Patrick Pellerin is said to have tried to get the union to pay $18,051.05 to Effervescence, the company owned by Marie-Claude Châteauneuf, his son’s girlfriend, for the creation of a website.

However, this website “simply never existed”according to the steel workers.

2 Between January 2019 and December 2020, Pellerin would have maneuvered the union to pay $404,305.95 to Effervescence, for the “insurance component of the V1 Go”.

The Steelworkers Union declares: “ this Expenses were in no way justified, that they did not result in any service being rendered”and that another company had been contracted by the union to deliver.

3 The Sûreté du Québec has determined that between January 23, 2019 and July 3, 2020, a total of $309,434.40 was transferred in installments from Effervescence’s bank account to two of Patrick Pellerin’s accounts at the Royal Bank.

“While he has a salary of approx $100,000 [Patrick Pellerin] Has were able to acquire in just two years thanks to the embezzled sumstwo new buildings […] in addition to a new luxury vehicle,” said Vincent Boily, the union’s new interim president.

4 Marie-Claude Châteauneuf took her own life on December 25, 2020.

“Before her death” she contacted a bankruptcy trustee to explain to him ” that it was the subject of a scam 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. So far, no criminal charges have been filed.

$18.78/hour
Average salary of a security guard

$21.41/hour
Average salary of a traffic signal attendant

Source: Indeed.ca, data for Quebec as of June 15, 2022

Do you have any public interest information related to union leadership?

Contact me confidentially jean-louis.fortin@quebecormedia.com

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