Did Carmen Santoro Embezzle Funds from the Oakville Professional Firefighters association?
Insignia Forensic Accounting was retained as independent forensic accountants to validate the payments made by the Oakville Professional Fire Fighters Association (“OPFFA”) to its officers and certain subcommittee members, in respect of honorariums, duty exchange, non-travel related per diems and mileage, in the years 2007 to 2013, inclusive.
In regards to honorariums, Insignia validated that amounts totaling $304,127.04 were paid in respect of officer honorariums for the years 2007 to 2013. They then calculated the honorariums payable for these years, based on the annual Constitutions of the OPFFA, to be $232,430.85. On this basis, the excess honorariums are calculated to be $71,696.19.
According to Insignia: “We agreed the details of the honorarium payments made to the officers, as per the Custom Transaction Detail Reports provided to us, to the cancelled cheques or cheque images returned with the bank statements for the OPFFA bank account. As it relates to Christopher Day, for whom we were not provided with a Custom Transaction Detail Report, we confirmed the amounts paid to him based on the cleared cheques/cheque images. Based on our examination of all of the cleared cheques/cheque images provided to us, we did not identify any further honorarium payments. As per Schedule 1 attached, the payments total $304,127 .04, which we have summarized by year and by an individual. The annual Constitutions of the OPFFA state that officers are entitled to receive an annual Officers’ Expense Allowance for each position held. The allowances are calculated as a percentage of a first-class fire fighter’s annual salary and vary depending on the position. Using the percentages contained in the annual Constitutions and the salary rates of a first-class firefighter, as per copies of the agreements between the OPFFA and The Corporation of the Town of Oakville in effect in each year, we calculated the total honorariums payable for 2007 to 2013 to be $232,430.85. ln assessing the honorarium payable to each individual for each year, we relied upon the description of the positions held by the individuals, as per the spreadsheet provided to us by the OPFFA in this regard. Regarding Jim Peterson, for 2007 we noted that the spreadsheet indicates that he was Secretary and a Negotiating Committee Member; however, we confirmed, based on our examination of all cleared cheques, that he was only paid for the Secretary position–,You have advised us that there is no documentation available which confirms the position(s) held by Jim Peterson in 2007 and that the entry on the spreadsheet indicating that he was a Negotiating Committee Member may have been made in error. Accordingly, for the purposes of our report, we have assumed that Jim Peterson only held the position of Secretary in 2007.
Based on the foregoing, the honorarium payments made for the years 2007 to 2013 exceed the honorariums payable for these years, by $71,696.19.”
Who was overpaid?
Carmen Santoro (President/Negotiating Chair) from 2007 to 2013 was paid $103,041.80. According to the Insignia Forensic Accountants as per the Oakville Professional Fire Fighters Association Constitution his honorarium should have been $78,872.09. Santoro took home an extra $24,169.71 of dues-paying members funds.
Andrew Lee (Treasurer/Vice President/Benefits) from 2007 to 2013 was paid $69,075.72, his honorarium should have been $52,434. Lee took home an extra $16,611.34 of dues-paying members funds.
Paul Evans – (Treasurer/Negotiating) from 2007 to 2013 was paid $55,713.48, his honorarium should have been $41,930.57. Evans took home an extra $13,782.91 of dues-paying members funds.
Jim Peterson (Secretary) from 2007 to 2013 was paid $40,702.11, his honorarium should have been $31,260.33. Peterson took home an extra $9,141.78 of dues-paying members funds.
This begs to question… is this a crime punishable by law? Should Halton Police investigate this misappropriation of Association funds?