Former CBC North supervisor who vacationed on company money sentenced for fraud

Pascal Sterlin, CBC North's former IT supervisor, was sentenced for defrauding the CBC $3,600.  (Pascal Sterlin/Facebook - image credit)
Pascal Sterlin, CBC North's former IT supervisor, was sentenced for defrauding the CBC $3,600. (Pascal Sterlin/Facebook - image credit)

A former supervisor at CBC North was sentenced to an 18-month conditional discharge for defrauding the company for personal expenses.

Pascal Sterlin, who pleaded guilty in October, was sentenced in N.W.T. Terrritorial Court on Friday.

Over a period of three months in 2018, Sterlin, who worked in Yellowknife, spent approximately $3,600 using a CBC company credit card for vacations in Mexico and the Maldives as well as for his internet bill.

He also lied about his father's death, telling his supervisor that he needed to leave Yellowknife to deal with funeral arrangements, when in fact he was vacationing. This was discovered when posts of the vacation were published on social media.

The agreed statement of facts presented in court detailed how Sterlin was contacted by CBC representatives in May 2018 about his outstanding balance.

He was questioned about the expenses, and his father's death, at a meeting with human resources staff and his union representative.

Sterlin told that meeting "I know how this looks," and that it was his ex-girlfriend who had improperly used his company credit card. He said he'd contacted the police but not filed a report.

Sterlin later admitted he'd lied about his father being dead, and also admitted he was the one who had used the credit card for personal expenses, according to the agreed statement of facts.

His conditional discharge means he will serve no time and will have no criminal record from the incident as long as he stays out of trouble for the next three years.

In 2019, Sterlin was initially accused of defrauding the corporation of $7,817 between February and May 2018. His trial was pushed back several times due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Embarrassed and remorseful

Sterlin, appearing at the Yellowknife courthouse by video from his home in Montreal, apologized for his actions and said he felt embarrassed and remorseful for what he had done.

His defence attorney, Tú Pham, said the incident was a lapse in judgment and that at the time Sterlin was having financial issues and dealing with depression.

Pham said Sterlin did not intend to steal, but thought of it as a loan that he could pay back before his employers discovered it.

Both the Crown and defence said they took into account Sterlin's lack of prior convictions, as well as the fact he showed remorse and pleaded guilty, and the consequences he's suffered as a result of the media coverage.

Pham said Sterlin has had trouble gaining employment due to the publicity of the court case. He said Sterlin was unemployed for a period of three years.

Pham said Sterlin's career in technology is over but he is currently working three jobs, 60 hours a week, in Montreal, and making less than what he had made working for the CBC. Sterlin, who is now in his late 40's, also has three kids that he is providing for, Pham said.

Crown prosecutor Matthew Scott said the sentence was also influenced by the fact the fraudulent scheme was poorly executed. Pham said this showed it was clearly not a professional plan, but an impulsive act made in poor judgment. 

Sterlin was also ordered to pay the CBC what he owed.

The sentence also prevents Sterlin from having responsibility over any of his employers' finances, or in charge of finances in any volunteer roles for the next six and a half years.