A Belmont man who stole $408,000 from three health authorities in Nova Scotia has been given another year to pay a hefty fine
© Ashley Thompson – TC Media
Cary Lee Hollett, of Belmont, leaves the Hants County Courthouse Jan. 14 with his Legal Aid lawyer. Hollett was granted additional time to pay off a $48,589 fine.
WINDSOR – A Belmont man who stole $408,000 from three health authorities in Nova Scotia has been given another year to pay a hefty fine owed in lieu of jail time.
Cary Lee Hollett, of Belmont, appeared before Judge Alan Tufts in Windsor provincial court Jan. 14 to learn if his request for additional time to pay off a $48,589 fine would be approved.
Hollett, 47, was looking for any extra time the judge was willing to grant him, but Tufts repeatedly expressed concern that the fine may never be paid off if the monthly payments made by Hollett are not increased.
Hollett, who clears about $800 every two weeks working retail in Halifax, had been paying $50 a month toward the fine when he applied for the extension.
Crown attorney Shauna MacDonald said she believes “extra efforts” can be made to retire the fine sooner if Hollett is granted the extension.
“It would seem that there could be a readjustment of his expenditures,” said MacDonald, who listed the amortization rate on Hollett's mortgage as something that could be reconsidered.
MacDonald said the Crown would rather see Hollett make payments toward the fine than serve jail time.
Tufts reminded the Crown that Hollett's financial situation was clear on the date of his sentencing in July 2010.
“This is a bit perplexing in a way,” Tufts said.
“He makes a deal that prevents him from going to jail... on the notion that he is going to pay the fine and then he doesn't pay the fine.”
“That's not unusual,” MacDonald replied.
Upon taking the stand, Hollett assured the judge he is not refusing to pay the fine.
“I just haven't had the money,” he said, noting that several of his assets were seized and sold following his conviction.
Fielding questions about his financial situation, Hollett said his mortgage payment is about $1,000 a month. His mother-in-law, who owns a separate house on the same property, puts $125 toward that monthly payment. Hollett, who has an 11-year-old daughter, said he owns the property with his wife and mother-in-law.
Hollett said he renegotiated his mortgage in the recent past to pay some things off and he would be willing to do it again to seek a longer term and lower rate to free up more money for the fine. He indicated that he has 11 years left on his mortgage payment after owning his home for 14 years.
Hollett said he would also look into downgrading from a cable, internet and phone bundle to a basic internet plan.
Following Hollett's testimony, Tufts asked MacDonald where the money gained from an auction of the assets seized from Hollett's home went.
MacDonald said it was up to the provincial department in charge of collecting the assets to determine where the money is allocated, but it is not automatically distributed to the victims of the fraudulent activities.
“It's the victims' money,” Tufts said. “Think they would be at the top of the list.”
At his sentencing for three counts of theft over $5,000, Hollett, a former accounts payable clerk for the affected health authorities, was ordered repay $145,412 to Annapolis Valley Health, $125,422 to South Shore District and $137,242 to South West Nova.
Tufts agreed to accept the Crown's position on the extension request and grant Hollett another year to pay the fine.
He stressed, however, that all efforts should be made to increase the monthly payments on the fine.
For starters, Tufts advised Hollett to seek a lower monthly payment for his mortgage, request that his mother-in-law account for one-third of the payment rather than $125 and look into downgrading his cable package.
Tufts ordered Hollett to return to court Dec. 23, 2014 for a progress update. It will be up to Hollett to apply for another extension if one is needed at that time.