Five years after three Toronto Transit Commission enforcement officers were charged with fabricating evidence and obstruction of justice in a fake fines scheme, they have now been sentenced to time behind bars.
Michael Schmidt, Tony Catic and Jan Posthumus were charged in January 2013 after a four-month rumoured workplace misconduct investigation progressed into a criminal investigation.
The three transit authority officers were found guilty in June 2017 of issuing bogus tickets to panhandlers who were regulars at TTC properties for loitering and solicitation, even though none of the officers witnessed any infractions of bylaws. Instead, the officers were off visiting girlfriends, watching sporting events or shopping. Many of the fabricated tickets carried a fine of $195.
Before handing down his sentence, Justice S. Ford Clements said the homeless victims were all at risk of being incarcerated for not paying their fines though that never happened. He called the case “a breach of trust and victimization of marginalized members of society.”
Schmidt, who was found guilty of writing 28 phony tickets, was sentenced on Wednesday to 90 days in jail to be served intermittently on weekends, concurrently with a nine-month conditional sentence and 150 hours of community service at a homeless shelter or another organization serving the homeless.
Catic was convicted of fabricating 13 fraudulent tickets and sentenced to 45 days in jail to be served on consecutive weekends. He also received a six-month conditional sentence and 100 hours of community service.
Posthumus was found guilty of writing four fraudulent tickets and sentenced to 14 days in jail to be served intermittently on weekends. He received a three-month concurrent conditional sentence and 50 hours of community service in a homeless shelter.
Clements called the offenders conduct “not merely wreckless but intentional and wrong.” None of the men had prior criminal records.
Two other transit enforcement officers who were charged were acquitted.
Schmidt earned $142,000 in 2012, Catic earned $108,000 and Posthumus earned $89,000. All three were dismissed from the TTC in January 2013 when they were charged.
Gary Clewley, the lawyer representing Schmidt and Catic, said he believes the blended sentence is fair.
“It meets all the principles of sentencing. It’s a very thoughtful, reasoned decision,” Clewley said, adding his clients deeply regret what happened.