The former CEO of a Halifax children’s hospital has been sentenced to five months in jail at a provincial facility for using a corporate credit card to pay for tens of thousands of dollars in personal expenses.
Tracy Kitch will also be on probation for 12 months following her release, and will be required to pay a victim surcharge of $200, according to the Public Prosecution Service.
During sentencing Wednesday, Judge Paul Scovil said Kitch was a highly paid civil servant who chose to ignore corporate expense provisions in order to benefit financially.
Defence lawyer Brian Greenspan argued that a conditional sentence with house arrest would have been fitting for Kitch, while Crown lawyer Peter Dostall said the sentence should send the message that “public trust of institutions cannot be violated.”
Kitch was convicted of one count of fraud over $5,000 in February. A second charge of breach of trust was stayed.
In his February decision, the judge said she failed to adhere to the high ethical standard her position demanded as head of the IWK Health Centre by making improper personal expenses.
The court heard she used a corporate credit card for personal charges, despite having signed documents that made it clear the practice was not allowed.
The personal charges included flights to Toronto, taxi fares, hotel stays for relatives, iTunes, Netflix, data overages, personal rental cars and parking tickets.
Kitch resigned from her position at the IWK Health Centre in August 2017 following an independent audit that found she had used her corporate card to bill the hospital about $47,000 in personal expenses. She eventually paid back over $45,000.
A second IWK executive was supposed to go to trial in May on charges of breach of trust, unauthorized use of a computer, and mischief in relation to data — but the Crown dropped that case because of insufficient evidence.
Kitch is appealing her conviction and has a hearing set in the Court of Appeal Thursday seeking to remain free on bail pending the appeal.
— with files from The Canadian Press