Officer convicted of attempted fraudNathan White sentenced to three months curfew under conditional sentence
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, January 21, 2015
A suspended RCMP officer has been given a conditional sentence of three months curfew after pleading guilty to attempted fraud.
Const. Nathan White, 35, received his punishment from deputy Judge Brian Bruser in territorial court in Yellowknife Monday morning. White pleaded guilty to falsifying 11 overtime claims between February 2012 and February 2013, amounting to $3,231.51.
Bruser changed the sentence to a 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew after initially sentencing White to three months house arrest. He did so following an appeal from White's Edmonton lawyer Steven Fix.
"House arrests are not mandatory under a conditional sentence," Fix told the judge.
He said White had become a father figure to his fiancee's two children and that they were of the age to be participating in sports and house arrest would prevent White from being involved in their activities. House arrest would have kept White at home except for an hour and a half each day.
Crown prosecutor David McWhinnie, brought in from the Yukon to ensure there was no conflict of interest, had initially requested three to four months of house arrest.
Bruser said even though the facts of the case were not complex, it was one of the more difficult sentences he has handed down during his career.
The original charges of fraud and forgery were reduced to attempted fraud because White never actually pocketed any of the overtime money nor did he claim any time off in lieu of the false overtime. Court heard that once White was confronted with the accusation of making bogus overtime claims by his superiors, he confessed to what he had done.
Bruser said one of the aggravating factors working against White was that he claimed he was performing court duties, when in fact he wasn't. Bruser said that fact nagged at him and left him increasingly unsettled as he contemplated the sentence.
"It is the court's role to try to enhance public confidence and White's conduct was a blow to what courts are supposed to do," Bruser said.
The judge acknowledged that White had no criminal record prior to this conviction and he had an exemplary record with the Mounties as well as with the Canadian Armed Forces where he is a master corporal in the reserves, based in Yellowknife. Two of White's commanding officers, RCMP Cpl. Matt Hare, who now works for the Mounties in Kelowna, and Maj. Conrad Schubert, based in Yellowknife, wrote letters on White's behalf stating the crime was out of character for White and added he had never received any disciplinary action while with the RCMP or the reservists.
Bruser said he accepted that White had never done anything like this before and was unlikely to do so again. However, he said because he violated his position of trust as a police officer, a strong message of denunciation over his actions and deterrence for anyone thinking of doing the same in the future had to be sent.
Outside court after the sentencing, White said it was a fit sentence but he would have to discuss any possible appeal of the sentence with his lawyer.
"I was always hoping for the best but planning for the worst," said White.
He said he must still appear before a code of conduct hearing with the RCMP. White said he hasn't yet been told when that will be held.
White has been an RCMP officer since January, 2007.
He was initially posted to Tuktoyaktuk before being transferred to Yellowknife. White remains suspended with pay, which has been the case since the RCMP first started investigating
him in April 2013.