The former CEO of a children’s hospital in Halifax has been found guilty of fraud after she used public money to pay for more than $45,000 worth of personal expenses.
On Monday, Judge Paul Scovil found former IWK Health Centre CEO Tracy Kitch guilty of one count of fraud over $5,000. He stayed a second charge of breach of trust.
Kitch appeared in court via video link.
In his decision, Scovil noted Kitch used a corporate credit card and flight passes to cover numerous flights from Toronto to Halifax for nothing more than personal travel to her home.
Scovil also said Kitch used corporate funds to pay for taxis, hotel stays for relatives, iTunes, Netflix and data charges. Scovil said the former CEO also used a rental car for personal use and didn’t pay parking tickets.
“As CEO, and having signed documents related to the same, Ms. Kitch clearly had knowledge that the use of flight passes and corporate credit cards were not to be used for personal expenditures,” Scovil said in his 17-page decision.
Scovil also noted Kitch’s position as CEO of a children’s hospital demanded the strictest adherence to a high ethical standard.
“Ms. Kitch clearly breached that standard,” he said. “The evidence before the court clearly showed that Ms. Kitch used corporate funds for personal expenses, placing the IWK funds in potential peril.
“There can be no doubt that the flagrant abuse of flight passes and credit cards are a marked departure from her position of public trust.”
Kitch stepped down from her position at the IWK Health Centre in August 2017 after an independent audit found she had used her corporate credit card to bill the hospital about $47,000 in personal expenses.
Kitch paid the hospital back over $45,000 within months of her resignation.
Kitch was charged in October 2018. Monday’s decision comes following a two-week trial in November 2021.
Kitch is scheduled to be sentenced on April 25.
Meanwhile, the chair of the IWK Health Centre says the hospital’s board of directors is “thankful” the trial is over.
“The Board is committed to the highest standards of governance and is focused on the strategic priorities of the organization, which reflect our passionate pursuit of a healthy future for women, children, youth and families in the Maritimes,” said Catherine Woodman in an email to CTV News.
With files from The Canadian Press