Ottawa Man Tells Court He Burned $1 Million In Cash To Keep It From His Ex-Wife
An Ottawa businessman is claiming to have burned $1 million in cash in an effort to keep it from his ex-wife.
Bruce McConville, 55, has long defied a court order to file an affidavit about the state of his finances, meaning authorities are unable to figure out what he owes in child and spousal support.
As a result, McConville hasn’t paid anything to his ex-wife. He is also accused of ignoring a Superior Court order to pay the court $300,000 as a security, and he has defied a further court order telling him not to sell his properties.
McConville appeared in court at a contempt motion on January 28, where he told Superior Court Justice Kevin Phillips he sold both properties and businesses before withdrawing a total of $1,050,000 CAD (£583,565) in cash through 25 withdrawals from six different bank accounts.
He said he had the ATM receipts to prove he withdrew the cash, but he no longer had the $1 million – a claim that confused Justice Phillips.
Ottawa Citizen reports that when Justice Phillips asked what McConville had done with the money, the businessman simply replied: ‘I destroyed it.’
Justice Phillips responded:
You’ve lost me. What do you mean?
McConville reportedly spoke of anxiety about a relationship with a daughter before going on to claim he had destroyed a total of ‘about a million and thirty-nine thousand dollars’ in two bonfires; $743,000 on September 23, and $296,000 on December 15.
Justice Phillips replied:
How does destroying over a million dollars advance your child’s best interest?
The ex-husband admitted he had no evidence of the bonfires as he hadn’t filmed them, and said there were no witnesses to the scenes, leading Justice Phillips to remark the claim was ‘hard to believe’.
McConville claimed he burned the cash out of ‘frustration’ with the divorce proceedings, pointing out it’s ‘not something that [he] would normally do’.
I am not a person that is extremely materialistic. A little goes a long way. I have always been frugal. That’s why my business lasted for 31 years.
Justice Phillips wasn’t convinced by McConville’s tale and accused him of ‘clearly and deliberately [setting] out to thwart the court and the proper administration of justice’.
He sentenced the businessman to 30 days in jail and warned him he would face ‘penal consequences’ if he failed to tell the truth in future court filings.
Once his 30 days are up, McConville will face severe financial penalties for every day he does not comply with court orders to file a full and honest account of his financial affairs, revealing where the $1 million is.
He will have to pay $2,000 per day directly to his ex-wife; fines that are independent of any future child and spousal support.
Speaking to McConville, Justice Phillips added:
I don’t believe you. I don’t trust you. I don’t think you’re honest.
I urge you to get in compliance because that $2,000 a day is going to run up such that you lose everything.
Judge Phillips described McConville’s actions as ‘morally reprehensible’, pointing out his claim ‘willfully and directly’ undermines the interests of his children.
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