A Canadian man says he chose to burn his savings to keep his ex-wife from getting the cash in their divorce, according to the Ottawa Citizen.
Bruce McConville was sentenced to jail for 30 days after he told a judge that he burned $1 million in Canadian dollars to avoid having to pay his former wife spousal and child support as part of their divorce settlement, the newspaper reported on Tuesday. (PEOPLE was not able to reach McConville for comment, and the Citizen report did not include the names of McConville’s attorney or ex-wife.)
The 55-year-old businessman, who once ran a failed bid for mayor of Ottawa, reportedly told a Superior Court judge that he took out the money — $1,050,000 in all — from six different bank accounts through 25 different withdrawals and kept receipts of the transactions, which amount to about $790,000 USD, as proof.
McConville told the judge overseeing the case that he burned the money in two separate bonfires, torching $743,000 on Sept. 23 and then $296,000 on Dec. 15, according to the newspaper.
“How does destroying over a million dollars advance your child’s best interest?” Superior Court Justice Kevin Phillips reportedly told McConville during a contempt motion last week. “You understand that’s hard to believe?”
“Yes, I do,” McConville reportedly admitted.
McConville acknowledged that he did not have proof that he did, in fact, destroy the money, and when trying to explain his reasoning, said he burned the cash out of frustration with the divorce, the Citizen said.
“It’s not something that I would normally do,” he said, the Citizen reported. “I am not a person that is extremely materialistic. A little goes a long way. I have always been frugal. That’s why my business lasted for 31 years.”
Phillips reportedly did not believe McConville was being honest and concluded that he “very clearly and deliberately set out to thwart the court and the proper administration of justice.”
“You are making a mockery of this court, and its process — something I will not allow,” Phillips reportedly told McConville. “You are conducting yourself with intent to deliberately and willfully frustrate the proper administration of justice.”
RELATED: Jenna Dewan ‘Is Very Relieved’ Her Divorce from Channing Tatum Is Finalized: Source
“More particularly, I find what you have done to be morally reprehensible because what you claim to have done willfully and directly undermines the interests of your children,” he reportedly added.
McConville was sentenced to 30 days in jail and was given a $2,000-per-day fine that will go directly to his ex-wife, and the fine will be imposed until he discloses his finances to the court, according to the Citizen.