November 20, 2012

Beach supports manager convicted of fraud

Actor Adam Beach lends support at convicted immigration officer’s sentencing hearing

By Andrew SeymourAn immigration manager convicted of fraud enlisted star power to help try to convince a judge she deserves house arrest, not jail, for accepting cash and gifts in exchange for fast-tracking applications.

Actor Adam Beach wrote a letter in support of Diane Serré, whose common-law husband is also the father of singer Keshia Chanté.

“Diane is one of the kindest, most sincere people I have ever met,” wrote the Golden Globe-nominated actor who appeared in the Hollywood movies Windtalkers, Flags of Our Fathers and Cowboys and Aliens as well as countless other films and television shows.

Beach, who paid for Serré’s court application to receive government funding to mount a defence, said he had known Serré for a decade. She has been a guest at his house numerous times, he said, and would often attend traditional Aboriginal Powwow celebrations with his family. The day she was arrested, Beach said he visited Serré’s house to perform a cleansing smudge ceremony in offer of spiritual support.

“Diane is a generous, kind-hearted soul who I am very grateful to have had in my life,” Beach wrote. “She is a wonderful example as a successful Aboriginal woman who is spiritually connected to her culture—not only to those who know her well, but to young Aboriginal women across Canada.”
On Facebook a brief exchange ensued:Has she refuted any of the claims made against her?

No. She was found guilty on 15 counts of fraud and 12 counts of breach of trust. The evidence was "overwhelming." So why are people liking this? Are we saying it's okay because she's Ab[original] or because she has a celebrity like Adam to say yeah but she's "nice" so her sentence should be lenient?
To which I responded:

"Diane is a generous, kind-hearted soul," especially when it comes to giving other people's money to those in need, like herself!

But seriously, we're talking about Serré's sentencing, not her trial. It's too late for her to counter the charges.

If she wanted to be a role model for young Aboriginal women, one could argue that she should take her medicine without complaining. Perhaps find other ways to provide restitution besides serving her sentence.

Letting her off easy sends the message that crime isn't so bad. And the related message that it's who you know that matters.

For more on Adam Beach, see Adam Beach Promotes NWT Tourism and Adam Beach Foundation and Film Institute.

Below:  "Diane Serré was convicted in June of fraud and breach of trust for her role in illegally fast-tracking immigration applications." (Mike Carroccetto/Ottawa Citizen)

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