Ex-health official sentenced to house arrest

Former Fraser Health technology manager James Roy Taylor was charged in 2010 along with an Abbotsford doctor and a former senior official in the B.C. health ministry, after police found evidence of improper payments and benefits in health ministry purchasing.

James Roy Taylor was network manager for Fraser Health.

VICTORIA – A former Fraser Health technology manager has been handed a one-year conditional sentence and a year’s probation for improperly accepting benefits from a contractor supplying electronic health care systems to hospitals.

James Roy Taylor, 64, was charged in 2010 along with an Abbotsford doctor and a former senior official in the B.C. health ministry. Taylor pleaded guilty Tuesday in Victoria provincial court to one count of breach of trust, and three other charges were withdrawn.

Special prosecutor John Waddell recommended the sentence, which begins with six months of house arrest, where Taylor will only be allowed to leave his South Surrey home between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. for work or other activities approved by his probation supervisor.

Taylor was also fined $2,000, the value of a stay at a Kelowna condominium he accepted as a benefit without telling his supervisors.He must also perform 175 hours of community service.

Waddell said the house arrest conditions are more severe than others charged in the case because Taylor has a previous conviction for fraud, related to the disappearance of $66,000 from the White Rock Sea Festival Society when Taylor was its president in 1998.

Ron Danderfer, former assistant deputy minister of health responsible for technology, also pleaded guilty in July to one charge of breach of trust. Danderfer and Taylor both admitted accepting a benefit from Jonathan Burns, the Abbotsford doctor who pleaded guilty in February to two charges in the case.

All were originally charged with multiple counts, including fraud on government and breach of trust by a public official.

When charges were revealed in March 2010, prosecutors accused Burns of offering Danderfer and Taylor accommodation at a Kelowna condominium, employment income for relatives and “post-retirement income” in exchange for using their positions to give contracts to Burns and his company WebMed Technology Inc.

Burns was sentenced to three years probation and 100 hours of community service, providing free health care to the needy. Danderfer was put on probation for two years, plus community service and a fine of $3,690, the value of two stays at the Kelowna condo.

In search warrant documents filed in 2009, RCMP commercial crime investigators alleged that WebMed “fraudulently submitted 30 invoices totaling $251,348.40 that Jim Taylor fraudulently authorized.”

Burns hired Taylor’s wife, a nurse, to work for WebMed when the company’s digital diagnosis system was being tested in Chilliwack and Maple Ridge hospitals.

In applications for search warrants, RCMP said Burns also offered to pay for side trips to Paris and Egypt while Burns and Danderfer were on government business in Europe.