Haworth: 'Embarassed, ashamed'
Aug 30, 2012 / 3:38 pm
Heather Haworth admitted she is very embarrassed, ashamed and disappointed in herself. This was just before being handed the maximum regulatory penalty for evading the payment of Provincial Sales Tax.
Mr. Justice Jim Threlfall fined Haworth personally and James Haworth & Son corporately $10,000 each after she earlier pled guilty to each count on behalf of herself and the company.
The fine was imposed followed a joint submission by prosecutor Ron Kockx and defence attorney Clarke Burnett.
Thursday's court ruling also came after Haworth was slapped with the maximum administrative fine possible for failure to pay $234,507 in PST between 2004 and 2010.
That fine worked out to be the amount of PST not collected, plus 100 per cent of that figure along with interest - $539,974.
The allegations of PST fraud came to light in 2010 when a bookkeeper noticed more PST taken in than had been remitted to the province.
He asked another bookkeeper who confirmed the practice of remitting a portion of the PST as instructed by Haworth.
When he confronted her, she stated, "You're not supposed to know about that."
Burnett told the court Thursday Haworth is 'extremely' passionate about the business and stated her strength is in designing and selling jewellery.
"She is not, quite frankly, adept at running the business side of things. Because of that, she often relied on others to assist her with that," Burnett told the court.
"By doing so she doesn't always have confidence in what is appropriate and she makes some of her own decisions which are foolish decisions sometimes."
He says she admitted to underpaying PST amounts instead of believing sales figures she was presented. He stated Haworth didn't believe the numbers were accurate.
While Haworth had signing authority over the account which contained those funds, Burnett stated, and the judge tended to agree, that the money was not used for personal gain but instead went back into the company.
Once she realized what had transpired, Burnett said Haworth immediately set out to make things right.
"I said it in court and I'll say it here, to her credit when she realized the seriousness of the problem, she went out on her own, she addressed it immediately by paying the debt and paying a huge penalty," Burnett said outside the courthouse.
"When this matter came before the courts instead of dragging it out and having a long drawn out trial, she said no, I'm going to step up to the plate, acknowledge my responsibility and deal with it. That's what she did today."
Howarth hustled from the courthouse into a waiting SUV without speaking to media.
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