[Hpn] Three admit charity scam
Thu, 22 Nov 2001 21:37:06 -0500
Nov. 22, 2001
Three admit charity scam
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
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
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,
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
Company of Canada, Pillsbury Canada Ltd., Yoplait, Kellogg's and Kraft
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
bus service for seniors and a winter night patrol program for street
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
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
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
operation. His trial is scheduled to resume Monday.