Former radio host Mario Lirette will have to stay in prison for a few more months. Guilty of a major fraud, the fallen star of Rythme FM still poses as a victim and complains of his “excessive” sentence. “You are not the victim”, decides the Commission québécoise des libérations conditionnelles.
“You’re basically saying that you were the victim of a fraudster, that you were good-natured and naive. You seem not to understand the responsibility for the gestures; willful blindness is not a crime, but a posture and a choice,” concludes Commissioner Suzanne DeVette, refusing her request for release.
The 71-year-old man, detained for five months, was trying to obtain a preparatory release for parole. He was sentenced to two years in prison, less a day, last November after pleading guilty to counts of fraud at the Longueuil courthouse.
Essentially, the radio host used a check cavalry-type scheme (kiting), a fraudulent process that involves issuing checks from a bank account with insufficient funds, depositing those checks into another account, and then withdraw the funds. The value of the fraudulent checks is $913,000.
Although he admitted his guilt, Mario Lirette “greatly” minimizes his responsibility and poses as the victim of his accomplice. “You say some of the charges are false and the sentence is disproportionate,” the commission said.
Mario Lirette says he found himself in a “spiral” and then showed willful blindness by following his accomplice. He adds that he knew nothing about business, a claim denied by the Commission. “You always believed that [your accomplice] was the fraudster and the criminal and not you,” says the Commission.
It is because of this speech that a resource refused to welcome Mario Lirette as part of his parole. In his eyes, however, he was not selected because the resource did not want to deal with a “public figure” like him.
According to the Commission, Mario Lirette still presents an “unacceptable” risk of recidivism for society because of the seriousness of his crime, an “organized and structured” fraud. In addition, the fact that the offender communicated with his accomplice after his arrest, when he was prohibited from doing so, demonstrates his “flagrant lack of judgment” and his “adherence to lax values”, adds the commissioner.