01/30/2015 04:03 EST | Updated 04/01/2015 05:59 EDT

Former Quebec union boss sentenced to 12 months for faking, inflating bills

MONTREAL - The former leader of one of Quebec's main construction unions was sentenced Friday to a year in jail after previously being convicted of faking and inflating bills worth more than $63,000.

A lawyer for Jocelyn Dupuis said he would ask for his client's release pending the appeal of last September's verdict.

Dupuis was head of the Quebec Federation of Labour's construction wing between 1997 and 2008.

Judge Denis Lavergne convicted him for forging documents stemming from inflated expense claims.

Police testified during his trial that between December 2007 and November 2008, 144 bills worth $63,000 that Dupuis expensed to his union were fake or inflated.

They said the majority were for lavish restaurant meals and expensive bottles of wine.

Dupuis argued the inflated bills were for the benefit of the workers he represented.

His union backed up his claim and never filed a complaint against him.

The judge rejected his arguments, saying his version was "completely contradicted by the facts."

Lavergne said the fact the union didn't make a formal complaint against him had no impact on Dupuis's guilt.

He said the evidence against Dupuis was "solid and overwhelming."