07/27/2012 02:26 EDT | Updated 09/26/2012 05:12 EDT

Former N.S. cabinet minister gets house arrest

Former Nova Scotia cabinet minister Richard Hurlburt was sentenced to 12 months of house arrest this morning for his part in Nova Scotia's MLA expense scandal. He pleaded guilty to fraud and breach of trust in April.

Hurlburt submitted more than $25,000 in false expense claims when he was Conservative MLA for Yarmouth.

Justice David MacAdam said a pre-sentence report indicates Hurlburt has genuine remorse for his actions.

Hurlburt committed four frauds, including claiming $3,500 for a big-screen TV that went to his house instead of his constituency office, $7,400 for renovations to his office that were never done, and $9,000 for a generator that he didn't buy. He did buy a much cheaper generator nearly a year later, after the provincial auditor general began looking into his expense claims.

The judge said that even though Hurlburt paid back the money, he had the resources to do so, so the move wasn't a factor in his decision.

Hurlburt must stay within 30 metres of his lakefront home while on house arrest, except for medical appointments, and any employment-related activities. He also has to complete 200 hours of community service. When the house arrest is finished, he will face 12 months of probation.

"The courts made their decision and I respect the court's decision today. And I will abide by everything the court has laid out to me," Hurlburt said to reporters outside the courtroom.

"My goal now is to show my love back to my wife, my family, and my friends and my community and help rebuild my community."

Earlier in the trial, his lawyer argued that Hurlburt would suffer greatly from a conviction, because he would no longer be able to travel to the house he owns in Florida.

Hurlburt is one of four Nova Scotia MLAs charged in relation to the expense scandal.

Former Liberal MLA Dave Wilson was sentenced to nine months in jail.

Former Liberal MLA Russell MacKinnon and Trevor Zinck, a former NDP MLA who now sits as an independent, have both pleaded not guilty.