[Hpn] Three admit charity scam

wtinker wtinker@metrocast.net
Thu, 22 Nov 2001 21:37:06 -0500


             Nov. 22, 2001

             Three admit charity scam
             Gail Swainson
             York Region Bureau

             Three men have pleaded guilty in Newmarket court to a complex
 food bank scam where food donated by unwitting corporations to aid the
needy
 was actually sold to wholesalers.

             David Penney pleaded guilty in the Ontario Court of Justice to
 an offence under the Competition Act. He was sentenced by Mr. Justice
 William Gorewich to two years less a day, to be served in the community.

             Under the terms of his sentence, Penney will be allowed to
 operate a food bank called Canadian Fair Share, said Crown Attorney Harold
 Dale.

             Peter McAfee and Randy Crane both pleaded guilty to conspiracy
 to commit a fraud on the public. They are to be sentenced Nov. 28.

             An agreed statement of fact says the three worked for St.
 Francis Food Bank of the Missionary Church of Saint Francis of Assisi,
which
 portrayed itself as a charitable organization distributing donated food to
 the needy and homeless.

             Documents show food donations were solicited from major
 corporations, but much of the product was instead wholesaled to
 neighbourhood stores without the corporations' knowledge.

             Scammed corporations included Nabisco Ltd., General Mills Ltd.,
 Campbell Soup, Coca-Cola Ltd., Longo Brothers Fruit Market Inc., Quaker
Oats
 Company of Canada, Pillsbury Canada Ltd., Yoplait, Kellogg's and Kraft
 Canada.

             The market value of the donations from 56 corporate donors was
 about $3 million, said the court documents.

             The men knew that officials with St. Francis were falsely
 stating that the Toronto-based organization was a member of the Canadian
 Association of Food Banks and was registered with Revenue Canada as a
 recognized charity. In fact, Revenue Canada rejected an application made by
 St. Francis for charitable status, said court documents.

             The trio also knew corporations were falsely told that all
 donated products were passed on to the needy and that St. Francis operated
a
 bus service for seniors and a winter night patrol program for street
people.

             The statement said products judged unsuitable for wholesale to
 neighbourhood stores were sold to the public at a thrift shop operated by
 St. Francis or were traded or given to legitimate food banks.

             The thrift store, which operated under the name Angels of Mercy
 on Danforth Ave., charged shoppers a fee of $12 a year, though in fact
 anyone could shop there without paying the fee.

             The three men either made or were aware of misrepresentations
 made to the corporations about how the food was distributed, the statement
 said.

             Court documents said the three also knew most of the food
 donated in good faith by corporations would not be handed out to the needy.

             While food traded to food banks by St. Francis was often
 inedible or unusable, quality food products that came from legitimate food
 banks were sold to wholesalers. Most of the cash proceeds went to Penney
and
 another man, the documents said.

             A fourth man, Robert MacKenzie, has pleaded not guilty to
 charges of conspiracy to commit fraud and fraud in relation to the food
bank
 operation. His trial is scheduled to resume Monday.


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