$25,000 sentence for fifth engineering executive to plead guilty in Gatineau bid-rigging case
October 14, 2022 – GATINEAU, QC – Competition Bureau
Francois Paulhus, a former executive of engineering firm Genivar (now WSP Canada), has pleaded guilty in the Court of Quebec to conspiring to rig bids for City of Gatineau infrastructure contracts, and was sentenced to pay a $25,000 fine, in addition to a 15% surcharge on that amount.
This is the fifth guilty plea in a case that began after the Competition Bureau uncovered evidence of bid-rigging on infrastructure contracts awarded by Gatineau between 2004 and 2008. The bid-rigging targeted a total of 21 contracts and defrauded the municipality out of an estimated $1.8 million.
Mr. Paulhus admitted that he had participated in the scheme while he was a regional director at Genivar in 2004. He conspired with executives from other engineering firms to fix bid prices in order to divide Gatineau infrastructure contracts among their respective firms.
Charges were laid against Mr. Paulhus in June 2021. Charges were previously laid against four other co-conspirators in June 2018. All four of those accused also pleaded guilty for their respective roles in the scheme. They received conditional sentences totalling five years and 11 months, and court-ordered community service totalling 260 hours.
“Rigging bids on public contracts is a serious crime that raises costs for municipalities and amounts to a theft of taxpayers’ money. Cracking down on bid-rigging is a top priority for the Competition Bureau, and we will continue to pursue individuals and companies who commit these crimes and defraud municipalities of public funds.”
Commissioner of Competition
Francois Paulhus pleaded guilty under the Criminal Code to one count of conspiracy to rig bids.
Those who believe they are involved in an illegal agreement with their competitors can come forward to seek immunity or leniency in return for their cooperation with the Bureau’s investigation through its Immunity and Leniency Programs.
The Bureau also has a Whistleblowing Initiative for those who believe they can provide information about a possible violation of the Competition Act. The Bureau will keep the identity of a whistleblower confidential.
- Criminal charges laid against four individuals for bid-rigging in the engineering industry
- 1-year sentence for engineering executive who rigged bids for public contracts in Gatineau
- 18-month sentence for second engineering executive to plead guilty in Gatineau bid-rigging case
- Two more engineering executives plead guilty in Gatineau bid-rigging case
- 19-month sentence for fourth accused in Gatineau bid-rigging case
- Fifth engineering executive charged in Gatineau bid-rigging case
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The Competition Bureau is an independent law enforcement agency that protects and promotes competition for the benefit of Canadian consumers and businesses. Competition drives lower prices and innovation while fueling economic growth.
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