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Province looking to recoup fraud funds

Jun 20 2012

The B.C. government is looking to recover taxpayer money it spent to help a convicted fraudster get a master's degree at the University of Victoria.

The government said Tuesday it is consulting with lawyers to see whether it can recover almost $8,000 in scholarship money it gave Richard Wainwright while he was employed as a provincial civil servant.

Wainwright was sentenced last week to a year in prison and two years' probation after being found guilty of forging a criminal record check as "Richard Perran" to hide his previous criminal convictions and land a government job.

Before he was fired in 2009, Wainwright received $7,986.43 over two years from the Pacific Leaders Program, a fund designed to help civil servants upgrade their education.

"The province has not yet recovered the $7,986.43 provided under the Pacific Leaders Program but, with the support of legal counsel, we are examining our legal options," the Finance Ministry said in a statement Tuesday. "Now that there is a conviction, we will continue to see what options may be available to recover monies."

Wainwright used the money toward a master's degree in education leadership studies at the University of Victoria. He graduated in the fall of 2010.

The master's degree was received under Wainwright's alias of Perran. He has enrolled in a PhD program at the university under the same name.

Perran is not Wainwright's legal last name. One of the court-ordered conditions says he can't obtain educational degrees or certificates in other names.

UVic says it is investigating how it awarded a degree under a fake name.

rshaw@timescolonist.com

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