Canada Hamilton cop in corruption trial testifies cash at home was related to side pool business

15:09  10 april  2018
15:09  10 april  2018 Source:   Toronto Star

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A Hamilton police officer testifies he was not on the take from drug dealers, that they were informants who supplied information Jurors also saw scores of invoices and work orders relating to Ruthowsky’s swimming pool and construction business , two side businesses where his clientele

Hamilton police officer Craig Ruthowsky said he kept as much as $70,000 cash in his Ancaster home even as his family’s line of credit began running up significant debt in the months before he was suspended from the police service in 2012.

“I was keeping that money separate for an investment property” he wanted to purchase, Ruthowsky told a Toronto court as his cross-examination from Crown attorney John Pollard began Monday afternoon.

“I’m an aggressive saver,” Ruthowsky said. “It works for me.”

But the Crown suggested Ruthowsky was aware he could face questions from financial regulators if he was depositing large amounts of cash into his bank account.

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Suspended Hamilton cop Craig Ruthowsky outright denied taking any money from drug dealers in exchange for police protection on Wednesday, as he began testifying at the corruption Lafontaine showed the jury dozens of examples paperwork related to the business Wednesday afternoon.

Suspended Hamilton Police officer Craig Ruthowsky told court Monday that he was an “agressive saver” and he kept as much as $70,000 cash in his Ancaster home.© Betsy Powell Suspended Hamilton Police officer Craig Ruthowsky told court Monday that he was an “agressive saver” and he kept as much as $70,000 cash in his Ancaster home.

Ruthowsky is facing criminal charges of bribery, obstruction of justice, breach of trust, trafficking in a controlled substance and conspiracy to commit an indictable offence.

Ruthowsky spent five years in the Hamilton police guns and gangs unit. A Hamilton drug dealer — who Ruthowsky claims was one of his informants — has alleged he paid Ruthowsky $500,000 in monthly instalments of $20,000 for information from the Hamilton officer that would help protect his drug business.

The identity of the drug dealer witness is protected by a publication ban.

Ruthowsky has testified the cash came from a pool installation and supply business he operated on the side, a business that was conducted mostly in cash.

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Suspended Hamilton cop Craig Ruthowsky outright denied taking any money from drug dealers in exchange for police protection on Wednesday, as he began testifying at the corruption Lafontaine showed the jury dozens of examples paperwork related to the business Wednesday afternoon.

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The officer also testified that unexplained income in a financial report prepared as part of the Crown’s case against him was the result of his poor paperwork while he operated the pool business.

The report allegedly shows $130,000 in unexplained income to Ruthowsky, and that his family’s line of credit rose by $47,000 between the end of 2010 and the end of 2011.

Ruthowsky said much of the discrepancy could be explained by the large amounts of cash he kept at home from the pool business and some of it could be explained by his failure to keep or obtain receipts.

“I’m saying I didn’t keep the greatest of books,” Ruthowsky testified.

But Pollard suggested the police officer knew it would be difficult to take a “$20,000 bribe and deposit it in your account.”

“You’re suggesting somewhere out there in this world, I have a hole dug with $500,000 in it?” Ruthowsky shot back.

Pollard responded by noting Ruthowsky closed his pool business in 2012, “because that was the same year you stopped receiving payments from (the alleged informant) because you were under suspension,” the Crown said.

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“You can suggest anything you want,” Ruthowsky replied.

“I never accepted any money from (him) at any time.”

As the cross-examination began, Ruthowsky testified he was comfortable having large amounts of cash on hand and he never considered buying a safe.

“I’m a police officer and I have police equipment around,” he said.

Ruthowsky’s examination-in-chief by his lawyer Greg Lafontaine concluded Monday morning with several hours spent reviewing dozens of pages of text messages between Ruthowsky and his stable of informants.

Lafontaine concluded by asking Ruthowsky if he ever accepted a bribe. “Not one penny,” Ruthowsky said.

“Are you guilty or not guilty of the charges?” Lafontaine asked.

“I am not guilty,” Ruthowsky said.

The trial continues Tuesday.

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