Fraudulent accountant sentenced to 20 months in home prison

A Laval accountant was recently sentenced to 20 months in home prison for having defrauded a notary during a real estate transaction. Repeat offender Nathalie Ratthé is still awaiting her sentence in another case of fraud involving more than $100,000.

Accused in 2018, the director of the accounting firm SOS Entrepreneurs pleaded guilty to one count of fraud of more than $5,000 last November at the Montreal courthouse. The judge then found her guilty on February 19, and imposed a 20-month suspended prison sentence (in the community), the result of a joint suggestion.

Nathalie Ratthé, 60, took $26,000 into her pocket during a real estate transaction in 2014. She then served as an “intermediary” between her client and the seller. The fraudulent accountant had to provide a deposit of $26,000 to notary Me Chiara Panfili – the victim in this case.

However, it was a bad check. It was issued by a company, of which Nathalie Ratthé is a shareholder, but whose bank account had been closed for a long period.

Bad check… again

However, the notary had already authorized the transaction before noticing the absence of funds, since the amount was displayed in her account. Nathalie Ratthé thus wrote a second check for the same amount, but which also turned out to be bad.

“A series of exchanges between Me Panfili and Mme Ratthé. (The accused) will tell him: “Give me more time to correct the situation.” The situation will never be corrected,” said the Crown prosecutor, summarizing the admitted facts.

Over the years, Nathalie Ratthé, however, ended up repaying the defrauded amount.

During the first 10 months of her sentence, Nathalie Ratthé will have to stay at home at all times, except to work. Judge Anne-Marie Lanctôt also agreed to allow her to go out to play sports between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. in the morning, within a radius of two kilometers from her home. An unusual exception.

At the end of her sentence, she will be subject to three years’ probation. She must also do 240 hours of community service.

Fraud over $100,000

A week before being sentenced to home prison, Nathalie Ratthé was found guilty by judge Claude Leblond in another fraud case. This time, the accountant took more than $100,000 from a client who had absolute trust in her.

Between 2015 and 2017, the fraudster made her client believe that the checks he signed were intended for the tax authorities. However, she instead deposited them in the coffers of her firm Fidem, then withdrew equivalent funds.

Comments on the sentence to be imposed are expected in the coming weeks.

Nathalie Ratthé already pleaded guilty in 2017 to theft charges and was given an eight-month suspended sentence and two years’ probation.

The fraudster – or one of her companies – has also been convicted five times since 2012 of illegally practicing public accounting. Nathalie Ratthé is not a member of the Order of Chartered Professional Accountants of Quebec. Note that “accountant” is not a reserved title, only that of CPA is.


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