A 55-year-old Ottawa businessman recently shocked a court of law by claiming that he literally burned one million Canadian dollars in cash just to avoid paying his ex-wife child support, as part of their divorce settlement.
Bruce McConville told a judge that he withdrew about 1 million Canadian dollars – roughly $750,000 – in 25 separate withdrawals from six separate bank accounts, and burned it all in two separate bonfires, CA$743,000 on Sept. 23 and CA$296,000 on Dec. 15.
He claimed to have receipts to prove he withdrew the money, but that no one had seen him actually burn the money, and that the bonfires had not been video taped. McConville told the judge that he burned the money out of frustration with the divorce proceedings, even though he knew that he was undermining the interest of his children.
“I burnt it,” the Canadian businessman said during the court hearing. “It’s not something that I 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.”
Superior Court Justice Kevin Phillips asked McConville if he knew how hard to believe his version of the story was, to which the businessman responded affirmatively.
Still, the judge didn’t believe him, accusing the businessman of defying and making a mockery of the court, and sentencing him to 30 days in jail. Furthermore, Philips told the 55-year-old businessman that if he failed to tell the truth at future court filings, he risked “penal consequences” that would make his 30-day term at the Innes Road jail seem “like a walk in the park.”
“I don’t believe you. I don’t trust you. I don’t think you’re honest,” Justice Phillips said, according to the Ottawa Citizen. “You are making a mockery of this court, and its process, something I will not allow. You are conducting yourself with intent to deliberately and willfully frustrate the proper administration of justice. More particularly, I find what you have done to be morally reprehensible because what you claim to have done willfully and directly undermines the interests of your children.”
Bruce McConville has apparently long defied a court order to file an affidavit about his finances. He also sold some of his assets to his former accountant despite being ordered not to try to sell any of his businesses or properties.
And because his financial status remains a mystery, the court has been unable to determine how much he owes in child and spousal support, so he hasn’t been paying anything.
However, during this latest hearing, Justice Phillips set a $2,000-per-day fine to be paid directly to McConville’s ex-wife.