Fraud at the Walloon waste office: three years in prison required against the official who embezzled 2 million

René Tonneaux, a former Walloon civil servant, is accused of embezzling money between 2007 and 2016.

LThe Namur public prosecutor’s office requested Wednesday before the criminal court a sentence of 3 years and 2,000 euros fine against René Tonneaux, former accountant at the Walloon waste office, and a sentence of 2 years in prison and 20,000 euros fine against his wife. Prevention of embezzlement by official, forgery and use of forgery, money laundering and concealment are accused to the couple. Confiscations in the amount of the embezzled amounts are required.

René Tonneaux, now 70 years old, is accused of having embezzled a sum of 2,043,722 euros between 2007 and 2016. The defendant created forgeries in purchasing journals and accounting documents in order to steal money. large sums, which were paid into his accounts, those of his wife or his mother-in-law and then withdrawn in cash. They were also used to purchase prepaid debit cards to finance travel, dining out or luxury purchases. These “inflated” invoices escaped the vigilance of the Court of Auditors, which checked the allocation of certain sums but not their amounts. It was in 2016, after the computerization of the service, that an employee discovered a payment of 52,000 euros from the Walloon waste office to René Tonneaux’s account.

Questioned, the defendant declared: “I will not deny the obvious. We had money issues and I did this the first time on a whim. The bank told us we were screwed. I received 1,900 euros per month. The first time, I told myself I was going to take it and pay it back. “

Vague suspicions

The wife of René Tonneaux, also warned, says she was only vaguely aware of the money problems. “We were operating the old fashioned way. I did not manage the money. He once told me that he had won the Lotto and not to bother me about our financial problems anymore. I did not try to find out how many. I discovered all of this on TV when he was arrested. He did give me a dringual every now and then. But I did not know where the funds came from and what he had done. “

Me Wilmotte, lawyer for the Walloon Region, incorporated as a civil party, claims reimbursement of the sums embezzled. “It is unpleasant to hear René Tonneaux posing as a victim of his financial situation. He does not seem to have a problem with having falsified documents and embezzled public money. The money was there and he used it and hasn’t refunded anything since. He abused the trust of the Walloon Region and betrayed it. “

The Namur public prosecutor’s office underlines the length of the offense period, the height of the amounts embezzled and the fact that the acts of the accused ruin confidence in public officials, as well as the absence of remorse, regret and reimbursement on the part of defendants, who plundered the community for their own personal pleasure.

René Tonneaux’s defense pleads for a suspended sentence, highlighting the confessions of the defendant and the seniority of the facts.

The counsel of René Tonneaux’s wife asks for an acquittal, considering that her client was not aware of the origin of the funds and that she cannot therefore be convicted of money laundering and concealment.

Judgment June 30.

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