Bouchard ordered to pay $2.23 million

Michelle Bouchard
Michelle Bouchard

Michelle Bouchard, who was found guilty two years ago of stealing money from an elderly man she had been living with, was ordered on Wednesday to pay more than $2.23 million to the man or his estate.

In April 2016, when she was found guilty by a jury and sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment, Ms. Bouchard was 55. Her victim, James Bruce Handford, was 88.

Justice Paul Worsley, who conducted the trial, had emphasized that she should not benefit in any way from her dishonesty.

Justice Michael Wood, who conducted the confiscation/restitution hearing, asked if Mr. Handford was still alive.

Told yes, he said the compensation should go to Mr. Handford and his executors.

During Ms. Bouchard’s trial, the court heard that Mr. Handford was a businessman from Australia who had retired in Cayman. By the end of the trial, he was living in an elderly care facility in Australia and was suffering from dementia.

The jury convicted Ms. Bouchard on 14 counts of theft that totaled CI$1,583,749.77 and US$829,855.17 between May 2010 and October 2012.

The Cayman Islands Court of Appeal reduced her sentence from 12 years to 10 years in November 2016, and heard details of assets involved. The court was told at the time that Ms. Bouchard agreed to turn $1.4 million in cash and a condominium valued at $250,000.

At the hearing this week, some questions remained about monies held by Ms. Bouchard in Canada.

The jury had convicted her of transferring criminal property – stolen money – in the sums of US$350,000, CA$350,000 and CI$310,000.

In early 2014, she transferred CA$1.4 million in her Canadian bank accounts to another bank account in the name of her father, who, by that time, had been dead for a number of years.

Crown counsel Toyin Salako told the court that Cayman did not have a relationship with Canada that would assist in recovering those funds.

Justice Wood said he found that “quite extraordinary.”

Defense attorney Lee Halliday-Davis noted that Ms. Bouchard had been obliged to draw on those funds for living expenses and attorneys’ fees when she had been denied legal aid.

The court order is to be satisfied by April 19, 2019.

Ms. Halliday-Davis said the Cayman condo would be handed over to Mr. Handford’s family.

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  1. I have heard similar stories to this one over the years. It sends a solemn message, “your greed will catch up with you.” The Bible says, “be sure, your sin will find you out.” This greedy woman did the crime, now she is doing the time. I hope no one has any sympathy for this criminal (she was found guilty for stealing money by a jury 2 years ago). She will have loads of time to answer her own question, “If I had to do it (stealing money) again, would I do it differently?”