Saturday, March 12, 2005

Health Canada Official Sentenced for Fraud

Another reminder that the irrestible temptations provided by running a large health care organization with a huge cash flow are not confined to the US, from the Edmonton Sun, and the Globe and Mail...
Paul Cochrane, a former Canadian Assistant Deputy Health Minister, was sentenced to a year in prison for fraud, as part of a plea bargain. Cochrane was in charge of the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, with a budget of $1.2 billion (Canadian). He inflated funds going to the Virginia Fontaine Addictions Foundation on the Sagkeeng reservation north of Winnepeg from 1994-2000. For example, he unilaterally raised the per diem reimbursement rate paid to one of the foundation's centres, resulting in nearly $1 million in extra revenues. In total, the foundation received about $70 million from Health Canada. In return, Cochrane got "cash, SUVs, $27,000 in exotic travel and NHL tickets." He is still facing charges of tax evasion. Nine others have been charged so far in this ongoing investigation.

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