Former ICBC employee pleads guilty to role in arsons and shootings

Candy Rheaume provided information that led to attacks on people with ties to justice institute

A former ICBC employee pleaded guilty on Monday in connection with 21 arsons and shootings targeting staff and students at the Justice Institute of B.C.

Candy Elaine Rheaume, 44, was charged with the unauthorized use of a computer. She admitted to having queried licence plates using her access to ICBC databases and provided people’s addresses to Vincent Cheung, of Langley, who carried out the attacks.

READ: Police confirm 13 victims connected to Justice Institute

Chief Justice Robin McQuillan handed Rheaume a suspended sentence with nine months’ probation and 40 hours of community service, following a joint submission by Crown and defence counsels.

Rheaume did not speak in the New Westminster courtroom, except to tell the judge that she was sorry.

The incidents, which occurred between April 2012 and January 2011, targeted homes, vehicles and other personal property of 15 people connected to the institute in cities from Surrey to Vancouver to Maple Ridge.

The attacks included drive-by shootings at cars and homes. In one case, someone set a suspicious device that exploded in the middle of the night at the front door of the north Surrey home. Surprisingly, no one was injured.

Crown counsel Melissa Rygus cited mitigating circumstances including Rheaume’s lack of criminal record and early guilty plea as reasons for the light sentence. Although Rheaume had been identified as a possible suspect earlier, she was only charged last February after the investigation into Cheung and his associate, Thurman Taffe of Burnaby, concluded.

READ: Arrests made as police crack arsons targeting JIBC staff

According to Rygus, Rheaume was not aware and did not intend for the information she provided to be used in arsons or shootings. Instead, Rygus said, Rheaume had queried 74 licence plates for Aldo Moretti, a friend of hers.

“[Rheaume] explained that Moretti ran a marijuana grow operation and asked her to query licence plates to see if cars in the area were associated with police,” said Rygus, adding that Rheaume received at least $25 per plate queried.

ICBC fired Rheaume, who had worked there since 1996, with no severance in 2011 following an internal investigation.

Cheung was sentenced in 2015 to 13 and a half years in prison. Taffe was sentenced to 16 months for one count of arson.

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