11/27/2014 03:59 EST | Updated 11/27/2014 04:59 EST

SaskTel Managers' Kids Assembled Set-Top Boxes For $200 An Hour, Court Hears


The children of three SaskTel managers were paid $200 an hour to help prepare set-top boxes for shipping to consumers, a court in Regina heard Wednesday.

Three former managers at the telecom — Dan Crites, Barry Richardson and Joan Yasinowski — are standing trial in the Regina Court of Queen’s Bench on charges of fraud and theft over $5,000.

The Crown alleges that, between 2007 and 2009, Crites, Richardson and Yasinowsky, while employees at SaskTel, set up a company that prepared SaskTel’s set-top boxes for shipping to customers, and hired their own children to do the work.

According to the Regina Leader-Post, the managers’ kids fit safety stickers onto the set-top boxes and repackaged older models with new instruction manuals. The kids were paid $200 an hour, CTV News and the National Post report. (The Leader-Post cited the number as $250.)

That’s significantly above market value for this sort of work.

SaskTel reportedly fired the three managers in 2009, after concerns over the alleged scheme came to light. The company forwarded the matter to the RCMP.

Crown prosecutor Dana Brule said one of the three accused, Crites, personally signed off on the contracts to the company he co-created, which operated out of a warehouse next door to a SaskTel facility.

The three co-accused were also able to set the prices that SaskTel paid their company, which they named Green Really Works Sales and Salvage Inc.

The lawyer for the defence, Bob Hrycan, told the court the accused set up the company as a retirement venture.

Hrycan suggested the corporate culture at SaskTel was partly to blame, alleging the provincially owned telecom “turned a blind eye” to the conflicts of interest in the set-top box contract, and was more concerned with getting the boxes to customers before the company lost market share.

Prosecutors did not disclose the total amount of money SaskTel lost in the alleged scheme.

The trial is expected to last two weeks, with 20 witnesses testifying, the Leader-Post reported.

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