An Ottawa man has been jailed for 30 days after telling a judge he burned more than $1 million of his own money to keep it away from his ex-wife.
Bruce McConville, 55, claimed in court last week that he burned $743,000 in September and $296,000 in December, the Ottawa Citizen reported.
McConville, a failed mayoral candidate and businessman, was in court for a child and spousal support case.
His mysterious financial circumstances have made it difficult for the Superior Court to assess how much he owes his ex-wife.
He is alleged to have sold property and assets without his former wife’s knowledge, the Ottawa Citizen reported.
According to McConville, he withdrew the money from the sales set it ablaze on two separate occasions.
In doing so, he defied court orders demanding his not sell his properties and pay the court $300,000 as a security.
“So where’s the money now?” Superior Court Justice Kevin Phillips asked him last week.
McConville answered by saying he’d “destroyed it.”
“Can I back you up a bit? When you say you destroyed it, what do you mean?” the judge asked.
“I burnt it,” McConville said.
When asked “how much,” McConville said: “In total, about a million and thirty-nine thousand dollars.”
He later clarified the total amount he’d burned was $1,050,000.
McConville said he had no record or witnesses who saw him burn the money in bonfires of cash.
“You understand that’s hard to believe?” Phillips said.
McConville said he’d been frustrated by the legal battle over his divorce.
“It’s not something that I would normally do,” he said. “I am not a person that is extremely materialistic. A little goes a long way. I have always been frugal. That’s why my business lasted for 31 years.”
Phillips wasn’t buying the story, ruling that McConville had “very clearly and deliberately set out to thwart the court and the proper administration of justice.”
Once McConville serves his 30-day sentence, he will face penalties for every day he does not provide an “honest” account of his finances.
The $2,000-a-day fine would be paid directly to his ex-wife, the judge ordered.