On Aug. 7, 2017, Brigitte Lariviere contacted Greater Sudbury Police to report two men had taken her purse while she was standing outside the Pizza Pizza restaurant on Elm Street.
The purse, she claimed, contained her rent money.
A police investigation, which included a check of surveillance video, determined no robbery had taken place. Lariviere was charged with public mischief.
On Nov. 7, 2017, Lariviere failed to attend court as scheduled.
Lariviere, meanwhile, had filed transportation, food and accommodations costs with the Ontario Disability Support Program for medical trips from April 13, 2017, to June 15, 2018. Ten claims worth $3,579.50 were found to be fraudulent. As a result, she was charged with numerous counts of theft under $5,000.
On Wednesday, Lariviere, 44, pleaded guilty to three charges – public mischief, failing to attend court and one count of fraud under $5,000. She was facing a suggested suspended sentence and three-year probation, along with a restitution order of $100 a month, on top of the $81 a month now being “clawed back” on her monthly ODSP cheques.
“I behaved very badly,” a tearful Lariviere told Keast. “I apologize very deeply. I’m done.”
Keast thought the restitution terms of the sentence were too harsh.
“It ($100/month) would ratchet up your temptation to take money away from another source,” he told Lariviere.
Keast issued the suggested three-year suspended sentence, but ordered that Lariviere repay ODSP a total of $1,000 at $30 a month and perform 100 hours of community service.
“(It) might not be much to people such as judges and lawyers, but to a person in your situation, it is a lot of money,” he commented.
Keast added that performing community service hours would benefit to both the community and Lariviere.
“I consider community service in your circumstances to be extremely important,” he told the woman. “People get into the community and see the struggles or hardships of what other people have to go through and it creates empathy.”
A three-year probation order includes the condition that Larivere take recommended treatment and counselling for issues such as grief counseling.
The judge also issued a DNA order.
Keast reminded Lariviere that she should not blame her medications for causing her to commit the frauds she did.
“This is a pattern of behaviour,” he said. “Ten different counts (of fraud). It takes cunning to do that. Not one of them. Ten of them.”
Michel told the court that at the time of her crimes, she was on prescribed medication – percocets and morphine – but is now off them and on the methadone program.
“She remembers talking to police and telling them something, but doesn’t know why she did that,” he said. “She can’t explain what was going on at the time. Funny things were happening due to the medication other reason. The medication is now gone.”