Byrne's bill settled

Rosie
Rosie Gillingham
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Former MHA, minister admits he defrauded government out of almost $500,000

The court wranglings over how much of taxpayers' money Ed Byrne misspent are finally over.

And so is any chance he would've had to clear the bill by declaring bankruptcy.

Byrne's civil court case was settled Friday, when a consent judgment was entered at Newfoundland Supreme Court in St. John's - with both sides agreeing that Byrne's bill totals $454,049.31.

That's four times the amount he pleaded guilty to having misappropriated in his criminal trial.

Ed Byrne

The court wranglings over how much of taxpayers' money Ed Byrne misspent are finally over.

And so is any chance he would've had to clear the bill by declaring bankruptcy.

Byrne's civil court case was settled Friday, when a consent judgment was entered at Newfoundland Supreme Court in St. John's - with both sides agreeing that Byrne's bill totals $454,049.31.

That's four times the amount he pleaded guilty to having misappropriated in his criminal trial.

Part of Friday's judgment included an acknowledgement by the former Kilbride MHA and cabinet minister that "the entire principal amount was misappropriated from (government) by fraud and fraudulent means."

Byrne was jailed last spring for his involvement in the government constituency allowance spending scandal.

The 46-year-old pleaded guilty to fraud over $5,000 and frauds on the government and was sentenced April 17, 2009, to two years less a day in prison.

He was also ordered to repay the provincial government $117,812, the amount he admitted to pocketing between 1999 and 2004. That amount is included in the overall bill.

Byrne wasn't in court Friday, nor was his lawyer, Tom Fraize.

But Mark Andrews, the lawyer representing the government, told Chief Justice David Orsborn that the provision in the judgment regarding Byrne's acknowledgement of fraud is "vital to the government."

That provision - which is also included in former MHA Randy Collins' consent judgment - means Byrne will be on the hook until the bill is paid in full.

If he should ever declare bankruptcy, once he's back on his feet financially, he'll have to repay the money.

Another provision is that instead of paying Byrne the $47,975.50 he was owed in severance, the government can keep that towards the principal amount owing.

Byrne served his term at the Bishop's Falls facility and was released from custody on Dec. 16, 2009, when he was granted full parole.

He was granted day parole Aug. 16, 2009, having served four months behind bars. While on parole, he wore an electronic monitoring device and had to adhere to strict conditions, including a curfew.

Byrne's full sentence is due to expire April 15, 2011.

He was one of four former MHAs charged in the House of Assembly spending scandal.

Liberal Wally Andersen pleaded guilty to charges of uttering forged documents and breach of trust by a public officer. He got a 15-month jail term.

New Democrat Randy Collins pleaded guilty to fraud and bribery and was sentenced to 21 months behind bars.

Former Liberal cabinet minister Jim Walsh was found guilty of fraud and breach of trust following a lengthy trial. He was sentenced to 22 months in prison.

Bill Murray - a former House of Assembly bureaucrat at the centre of the constituency spending scandal - pleaded guilty to several fraud-related charges and got a two-year jail term.

A sixth man, St. John's businessman John Hand, was also named in the scandal. He pleaded guilty to fraud-related charges and is scheduled to be sentenced in August.

Hand is linked to the three trinket companies that received significant cash from the legislature.

rgillingham@thetelegram.com

Geographic location: St. John's, Falls

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Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • Frank
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    It seems that no matter how good their intentions were when they went into politics, the minute they get a whiff of the gravy train, their morals go out the window. It's happened over and over again. No mattet how well paid they are, they just have to have more!

    Until the penalties are so high that the risks are not worth it, the offenses will continue. However, the penalties will never be tough enough, because after all they are imposed by politicians on themselves.

  • Kim
    July 02, 2010 - 13:33

    can we all get a tax break from the nl gov. like this.pay back when your financially stable. IF... you want

  • Margaret
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    I am sixty-three, and cannot afford my diabetes medications and supplies,
    after working honestly and steadily for thirty-five years. I do not receive a pension.
    Maybe I should steal them and expect to receive forgiveness and compassion, especially because they mean my health and well being; not overboard luxurious living.
    I feel sorry for Ed Bryne's children.
    How are their friends, and school mates treating them?
    Oh, Ed, enjoy OUR cabin this Summer.

  • Sheila
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    Profit $454,049.31 - actual time served 4 months - pay back when I can afford to! Please tell me where I can get such a great deal? All his property should have been taken and sold and any future earnings garnished.

    Good luck taxpayers you will never see another cent of your money. It is your money remember that he stole.

  • Joanne
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    Another joke, and smack in the face, and insult to the taxpayers.

  • I will not be a victim
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    I am just curious as to how this scumbag is living right now? Does he have a job? Is he on welfare? If there is ANY income in his household it should be garnished,that includes his wife's salary (if she is still around). The courts should have saved some money and thrown him to the LIONS!!

  • jason
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    Another provision is that instead of paying Byrne the $47,975.50 he was owed in severance, the government can keep that towards the principal amount owing.

    Ok, the guy pleads guilty to defrauding his employer and is still entitled to a severance! Nice to see more of the tax payers money going to pay of Ed's tab.

  • baie boy
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    Headline is very misleading. Byrne has not settled his account. He owes $500K They took his severance but what about pension? Telly should check into this & if it is being attatched. This guy deserves no breaks. Stealing from the people is treason. Capital offence. He deserves nothing more than minimum welfare until account is settled. He should be shunned forever.

  • anne
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    george from northern penn., you are so on th money.
    this guy was already living a comfortable lifestyle when he 'stole' money just cause he had access, out of greed
    i recd 2 months of social assistance while waiting for my CPP to arrive, and now they want it back - it was only a 'loan' they said. pray tell how i am supposed to pay them their $1700 back on my $800 monthly income, but they are threatening me with garnishment, withholding GST, etc

    funny how the pennies mean so much, but the dollars are so insignificantly dismissed

    perhaps the govt could recoup my 'overpayment' from mr byrnes bill, he wouldnt notice such an amount i'm sure as it seems he was tossing money about without worrying where it came from

  • Sue
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    Ed Byrne should have been forced to go to family court, they would have had no trouble getting all the money back from him, and they would have made someone else rich in the process.....isn't that what family court is all about, MONEY. It's not about the children....

  • Steve
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    It is amazing what a few trips to court can do?

    All this from the man who publicly sated he had not done anything wrong. Our Federal MP'S somehow can't figure out why we want to have a closer look at their expenses.

    Please give us all a break!

  • Larry
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    Extremely misleading headline!!! Should be corrected.

  • TJ
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    our government is a joke, you can steal, get caught and still get away with it. this man and all the others should have nothing left, they should be sent packing and live on the streets

  • Don
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    Jim Walsh was the worse of them all. He refused to accept responsibility for his crime. Instead he said to the court , I was wounded. What an a--hole. He should have been jailed for 10 years, with no parole.

  • George
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    It is a considerable sum to be on the hook for, but this guy is getting a cabinet ministers pension. Through no fault of my own I have been on the receiving end of an error in pay from my gov employer. 10% of the amount owing deducted from my regular pay cheque or payment in full is the standard. I realize that 10% of this amount would be impossible, but a nice figure of say $2000/month deducted from his pension would mean that he would have it all payed back in about 17 years, just after he gets his Canada Pension. He may not be living the exorbinant lifestyle that he once was, but hey, that ain't my concern or that of all the other taxpayers in Newfoundland

  • Frank
    July 01, 2010 - 20:23

    It seems that no matter how good their intentions were when they went into politics, the minute they get a whiff of the gravy train, their morals go out the window. It's happened over and over again. No mattet how well paid they are, they just have to have more!

    Until the penalties are so high that the risks are not worth it, the offenses will continue. However, the penalties will never be tough enough, because after all they are imposed by politicians on themselves.

  • Kim
    July 01, 2010 - 20:21

    can we all get a tax break from the nl gov. like this.pay back when your financially stable. IF... you want

  • Margaret
    July 01, 2010 - 20:21

    I am sixty-three, and cannot afford my diabetes medications and supplies,
    after working honestly and steadily for thirty-five years. I do not receive a pension.
    Maybe I should steal them and expect to receive forgiveness and compassion, especially because they mean my health and well being; not overboard luxurious living.
    I feel sorry for Ed Bryne's children.
    How are their friends, and school mates treating them?
    Oh, Ed, enjoy OUR cabin this Summer.

  • Sheila
    July 01, 2010 - 20:14

    Profit $454,049.31 - actual time served 4 months - pay back when I can afford to! Please tell me where I can get such a great deal? All his property should have been taken and sold and any future earnings garnished.

    Good luck taxpayers you will never see another cent of your money. It is your money remember that he stole.

  • Joanne
    July 01, 2010 - 20:11

    Another joke, and smack in the face, and insult to the taxpayers.

  • I will not be a victim
    July 01, 2010 - 20:11

    I am just curious as to how this scumbag is living right now? Does he have a job? Is he on welfare? If there is ANY income in his household it should be garnished,that includes his wife's salary (if she is still around). The courts should have saved some money and thrown him to the LIONS!!

  • jason
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    Another provision is that instead of paying Byrne the $47,975.50 he was owed in severance, the government can keep that towards the principal amount owing.

    Ok, the guy pleads guilty to defrauding his employer and is still entitled to a severance! Nice to see more of the tax payers money going to pay of Ed's tab.

  • baie boy
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    Headline is very misleading. Byrne has not settled his account. He owes $500K They took his severance but what about pension? Telly should check into this & if it is being attatched. This guy deserves no breaks. Stealing from the people is treason. Capital offence. He deserves nothing more than minimum welfare until account is settled. He should be shunned forever.

  • anne
    July 01, 2010 - 20:08

    george from northern penn., you are so on th money.
    this guy was already living a comfortable lifestyle when he 'stole' money just cause he had access, out of greed
    i recd 2 months of social assistance while waiting for my CPP to arrive, and now they want it back - it was only a 'loan' they said. pray tell how i am supposed to pay them their $1700 back on my $800 monthly income, but they are threatening me with garnishment, withholding GST, etc

    funny how the pennies mean so much, but the dollars are so insignificantly dismissed

    perhaps the govt could recoup my 'overpayment' from mr byrnes bill, he wouldnt notice such an amount i'm sure as it seems he was tossing money about without worrying where it came from

  • Sue
    July 01, 2010 - 20:00

    Ed Byrne should have been forced to go to family court, they would have had no trouble getting all the money back from him, and they would have made someone else rich in the process.....isn't that what family court is all about, MONEY. It's not about the children....

  • Steve
    July 01, 2010 - 19:58

    It is amazing what a few trips to court can do?

    All this from the man who publicly sated he had not done anything wrong. Our Federal MP'S somehow can't figure out why we want to have a closer look at their expenses.

    Please give us all a break!

  • Larry
    July 01, 2010 - 19:57

    Extremely misleading headline!!! Should be corrected.

  • TJ
    July 01, 2010 - 19:57

    our government is a joke, you can steal, get caught and still get away with it. this man and all the others should have nothing left, they should be sent packing and live on the streets

  • Don
    July 01, 2010 - 19:53

    Jim Walsh was the worse of them all. He refused to accept responsibility for his crime. Instead he said to the court , I was wounded. What an a--hole. He should have been jailed for 10 years, with no parole.

  • George
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    It is a considerable sum to be on the hook for, but this guy is getting a cabinet ministers pension. Through no fault of my own I have been on the receiving end of an error in pay from my gov employer. 10% of the amount owing deducted from my regular pay cheque or payment in full is the standard. I realize that 10% of this amount would be impossible, but a nice figure of say $2000/month deducted from his pension would mean that he would have it all payed back in about 17 years, just after he gets his Canada Pension. He may not be living the exorbinant lifestyle that he once was, but hey, that ain't my concern or that of all the other taxpayers in Newfoundland