Defense questioning grounds for trial of ex-North Glengarry tax collector

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The fifth day of the trial of a former North Glengarry tax collector, Sandra Cameron, continued on Monday.

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Defense attorney John Hale continued to question the main Crown witness in the case, Linda Lancaster. Most of Hale’s questions revolved around the amount of reversals made from Cameron’s account in Vadim accounting software.

He questioned a potential scenario where the cashier/receptionist at North Glengarry made a mistake when entering a payment received at a taxpayer’s desk. Lancaster explained that such a scenario happened during his time at the municipality and that this person’s username – in this case, that of the receptionist / cashier – would always show up next to the inversion. , even though she didn’t have the credentials to perform the reversal on her own. Essentially, Lancaster pointed out that reversals are only performed by the person overseeing the action in Vadim.

Hale also questioned payment reversals that did not coincide with true, documented payments.

“It would have been some kind of verbal request to (Cameron) that would have generated this,” Lancaster said, speculating on the sudden removal of any overdue amounts from a tax account. “If you show arrears on a tax bill, it could impact the sale of (a) property…it could also have been the realtor asking (Cameron) for this (information).”

Hale suggested it would take a huge organization to track every fraudulent receipt entered and when to reverse payments. Lancaster disagreed, suggesting that the Vadim program could easily generate a report showing the receipts.

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“I guess the operator should call back three weeks later to void that receipt…do you see any benefit in crediting an amount and then voiding it three weeks later?” Hale asked.

“The inversion puts the tax account back to where it should be,” Lancaster said.

She also explained that the potential benefits of these actions would be that the tax notice would show that no tax was due, which could be presented to an attorney in connection with any change in title or sale of the property. She suggested that it is possible that when a tax certificate was requested for such properties, this led to the cancellations, as a tax certificate is the authoritative document showing the amount due for a property.

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Hale continued to question the cancellations that were made on Cameron’s account, drawing attention to various receipts.

“These receipts were in many cases entered incorrectly to show incorrect balances on tax accounts prior to various events; one event being a request for a tax certificate by a lawyer, in some cases it was when a taxpayer requested a copy of a tax bill for income tax purposes, in some cases it it was a method where the tax account was not charged the correct amount of interest,” Lancaster said.

“Do you see anything in this pattern that benefits the trader who makes the change, who makes a false receipt and then a false reversal? What would it take for the trader to do this over and over again, express: create then cancel receipts?

“The advantage could be, and this is just a suggestion: it could be that (Cameron) doesn’t want to deal with an angry taxpayer who asks where the arrears are coming from and explains things in detail. As to why (Cameron) did this, you should ask your client,” Lancaster said.

Hale concluded his cross-examination on Tuesday, as the Crown began its final questioning with Lancaster.

The trial is due to continue on Tuesday.

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Esther L. Steinbach