Three guilty pleas in one week
What do a priest, a police staffer and a mutual fund salesman have in common?
Associate editor Geoffrey Morgan keeps an ear to the ground for business related fraud in Alberta so you don't have to. Follow him at @geoffreymorgan on Twitter or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
by Geoffrey Morgan
The RCMP has withdrawn charges against the owners of Kihew Energy Services, a company that plead guilty to human trafficking Tuesday, after Kihew agreed to pay $215,000 in fines.
The RCMP had charged Kihew’s director and Ukranian Orthodox church pastor John Lipinski, his wife Angela and his colleague Calvin Steinhauer with benefiting from the proceeds of crime, but dropped the charges in exchange for the company’s guilty plea. Kihew is guilty of bringing more than 60 foreign workers to Alberta from Poland under the pretence that they would be studying English as a second language at Lloydminster’s Lakeland College.
In fact, very few of the workers did any training at Lakeland College, which had no knowledge of the false confirmation letters one of its employees sent to Canada Immigration and Citizenship, but were instead contracted out to work in northern Alberta.
Kihew’s guilty plea was one of three entered in Albertan fraud cases this week. A former civilian staffer with the Edmonton Police Service, John Alvin Jerke, also plead guilty in provincial court on Tuesday to pocketing more than $84,000 from a cadet fund. Jerke will be sentenced on January 7, 2013.
And while neither Lipinski, his wife or Steinhauer will face charges for the actions of their company, a mutual fund salesman in Calgary didn’t fare as well. A provincial court judge sentenced Jason Yiu-Kwan Chan to three years in a federal penitentiary for fraud and ordered him to repay his investors $62,167.
That’s less than 10 per cent of what Chan collected. According to court documents, Chan defrauded his victims of more than $1.1 million and bought real estate in Canmore and Montana. Some victims are trying to recoup the money in civil court.
In his comments on sentencing, Provincial Court Judge Allan Fradsham wrote, “Mr. Chan’s egregious conduct was not in pocketing the investment funds, it was in deliberately overriding the instructions of the vulnerable investors for the sole purpose of investing money as he saw fit, regardless of the instructions of the investors, and with indifference as to their ability to withstand high risk investments.”
Chan has sold properties in Canmore in an attempt to settle his legal bills and repay his investors.