POLITICS

Pamela Porter pleads guilty to laundering proceeds of crime, will be jailed

12/18/2014 02:34 EST | Updated 02/17/2015 05:59 EST
MONTREAL - Pamela Porter pleaded guilty Thursday to two counts of laundering the proceeds of crime and was sentenced to 33 months for her role in an alleged bribery scandal connected to a superhospital project.

With time already served, Porter has two years less a day to go in a sentence that was agreed to by the Crown and defence.

She was also put on one year's probation.

A lawyer with the Quebec government's proceeds-of-crime unit said the court also seized about $5.5 million worth of assets related to her crimes.

One of the charges against her was related to helping launder money from an alleged fraud of $22.5 million in the $1.3-billion superhospital project in Montreal.

The other charge involved allegations she used some of that money to secure her bail in 2013.

A charge of conspiracy was dropped.

Porter, 54, is one of several people charged in the fraud and bribery case related to the superhospital contract. She is the first to plead guilty.

The names of the other accused as well as other evidence in the case are under a publication ban that was imposed at her hearing Thursday afternoon.

The ban remains in effect until at least Friday afternoon, when there is a court hearing on the matter.

Porter is the wife of Arthur Porter, the former head of the McGill University Health Centre, which manages the superhospital project.

He was once appointed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to head the Security Intelligence Review Committee, a CSIS watchdog group.

Paul Mercier, a lawyer with Quebec's proceeds-of-crime unit, said Pamela Porter's acknowledgment of guilt was "important" because it allowed the government to get back part of the alleged fraud of $22.5 million.

"Our job is to recoup as much money as possible," Mercier said.

Crown prosecutor Marie-Helene Giroux said Porter's sentence was "proper, given her implication in the file."

Porter will also have to conduct 240 hours of community service after she completes her jail sentence.