Gosselin pleads guilty in sponsorship scandal

OTTAWA — Gilles-Andre Gosselin, a key player in the federal sponsorship scandal, pleaded guilty Friday to several fraud charges.

OTTAWA — Gilles-Andre Gosselin, a key player in the federal sponsorship scandal, pleaded guilty Friday to several fraud charges.

Gosselin was immediately sentenced by an Ottawa judge to two years, plus a day.

“I’m sorry and I apologize,” he told Judge Lise Maisonneuve, breaking into tears.

An executive with Ontario-based Gosselin Strategic Communications, Gosselin was charged last December with 19 counts of fraud for offences allegedly committed between 1997 and 2000.

His name surfaced in a 2004-2005 inquiry into the sponsorship scandal, which revealed the public-relations executive billed the government for 3,673 hours of work in 1997.

He told the inquiry, led by Justice John Gomery, that he had worked every minute of the hours he billed — and burned himself out in the process.

Friday’s hearing focused on 70 allegedly fake invoices sent to the officials running the notorious sponsorship program, intended to raise the federal government’s profile in Quebec.

The scandal undermined the Liberal government of the time, and paved the way for a Conservative government promising accountability and openness.

Gosselin declared bankruptcy in June last year.