The Ontario Supreme Court of Justice in Chatham, seen on March 18, 2016. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

Trial begins for Bothwell man accused of tax fraud

The trial of a Bothwell man accused of scamming the Canada Revenue Agency by claiming he had 43 children, began on Thursday.

Thursday was the first day of the trial for Michael Hulme, who is facing three charges related to fraud. Hulme entered the courtroom in cuffs, as is the procedure for every inmate that goes into the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

He is currently in custody for previous charges unrelated to alleged part in the CRA scam that is before Justice Lucy. C Glenn, this week.

According to documents, Hulme unlawfully claimed child tax benefits amounting to nearly $61,000 between 2014 and 2015.

During the morning portion of the proceedings, crown prosecutor Paul Bailey called the first witness, an ex-spouse of Hulme.  The two had met online before entering into a seven-year relationship, the court heard. They have two children together.

As Bailey examined the witness, he asked if she had known about 43 children, all with Hulme’s last name, that were born between July 2012 and May 2015. She responded that she had no account any of the children, and given the state of the relationship, would have known if they had existed.

Online benefit applications were submitted by a “Michael G. Hulme” for all of the children, which are listed below:

*NOTE: some names are used more than once, they are indicated with an (x) to properly state how many times the names were used*

  • Michael Hulme – January 12, 2014
  • Chris Hulme – February 10, 2014
  • Lydia Hulme – April 4, 2013
  • George Hulme (3) – July 14, 2012 / Aug 2, 2014 & January 15, 2015
  • James Hulme (2) – May 5, 2014 & May 17, 2015
  • David Hulme – June 4, 2014
  • Timmy Hulme – July 6, 2014
  • Marc Hulme (2)  July 19, 2014
  • John Hulme (2) July 18, 2014 & Aug 19, 2014
  • Kim Hulme (2) – August 4, 2014 & April 13, 2015
  • Jimmy Hulme – August 7, 2014
  • Tammy Hulme – August 10, 2014
  • Tom Hulme – August 15, 2014
  • Mlissa Hulme (2) – October 10, 2014 & January 12, 2015
  • Jax Hulme (2) – October 11, 2014 & March 13, 2015
  • Frank Hulme (3) – October 14, 2014 / February 10, 2015 & March 15, 2015
  • Ronda Hulme – October 17, 2014
  • Kyle Hulme – November 10, 2014
  • Hank Hulme – December 10, 2014
  • Brandy Hulme – December 18, 2014
  • Bart Hulme – December 20, 2014
  • Sam Hulme (2) December 16, 2014 & April 3, 2015
  • Robin Hulme – December 27, 2014
  • Jazmen Hulme – December 28, 2014
  • Smith Hulme – January 20, 2015
  • Jayson Hulme – February 12, 2015
  • Alison Hulme – January 19, 2015
  • Linda Hulme  – ??
  • Mike Hulme – April 10, 2015
  • Jim Hulme (2) –  April 10, 2015 & May 10, 2015
  • Chad Hulme – April 20, 2015

As the list of names continued to be read out, the accused remained in the prisoner’s box looking visibly distraught, his hands covering his face.

The court also heard Hulme’s only source of income during 2014 and 2015 was through the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), that comes out to about $1,300 per month. The payments, however, did not deter the accused from wanting accessories around the house, including a new couch, chair, washer, and dryer. His ex-spouse claimed he would transfer money into her account in order to accommodate the purchases.

Sometimes he would transfer as much as $4,000 at one time, she told the court.

When asked where Hulme got the extra money, the witness was told by Hulme that the money was built up through and ODSP investment fund, however, due to a confidentiality agreement he could not disclose further.

The trial resumes on Friday with cross-examination expected from defence attorney Ken Marley.

*Claims made in this article have not been read into an agreed statement of facts and therefore have not been proven to be true, however, the crown and defence both agree that a man named Michael G Hulme has made child tax credits for over 40 children to the Canada Revenue Agency*