the violence of white collar crime

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Re: the violence of white collar crime

Postby admin » Thu Oct 03, 2019 4:44 pm

Vital Signs report shows half of Calgarians struggling to afford food, shelter
YOLANDE COLE Updated: October 1, 2019

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Almost three-quarters of Calgarians experience stress due to personal finances,
the latest Vital Signs report indicates.

The Calgary Foundation report, released today, also shows 52 per cent of Calgary residents struggle to afford basic necessities like food and shelter. The study features expert research and the results of a citizen survey that included 2,236 people.

Taylor Barrie, Calgary Foundation vice-president of communications, said the report shows many Calgarians are stressed and struggling to find meaningful employment.

“A lot of us don’t feel we have an opportunity to really grow our career,” she said. “And over half of us are struggling to afford just the basic necessities of food, shelter, clothing. So that trend has been there for a couple of years now.”

People are rating their quality of life quite high.Taylor Barrie
Barrie said when the foundation first got the survey results, something that stood out to her were conversations about belonging, equity and equality.

“There’s still a lot of Calgarians who don’t feel safe, or they feel threatened because of the colour of their skin or their religious affiliation or their sexual orientation,” she said. “And we’re feeling that and seeing that all over the world right now. We’re becoming increasingly polarized, but obviously that’s being felt at a local level as well.”

The report indicates 28 per cent of survey respondents “often or sometimes feel uncomfortable because of our religion, ethnicity, skin colour, culture, language, accent, gender or sexual orientation.”

However, this year’s study also contains positive news, Barrie said. For example, 69 per cent of those surveyed feel quality of life in the city is good or excellent, and 68 per cent think the city is a great place to raise children.

“People are rating their quality of life quite high,” she said. “They feel like Calgary is a great place to raise their kids. If you are a senior in our city, you also have a really high quality of life, and you have a really strong sense of belonging…We’re doing really well when it comes to our arts scene. Calgarians really celebrate arts events, festivals.”

But other concerns identified in the survey include findings that half of Calgarians feel unable to access timely mental health care.

“Some issues that seem to come up every year are things like mental health, and Calgarians feeling like they don’t have access to mental health care in a timely manner,” said Barrie. “So even if they know where to go, that they’re not getting it when they need it.”

The report also indicates that 64 per cent of respondents are concerned about the level of poverty here, and only 26 per cent believe seniors have access to affordable housing.

Barrie said Calgary’s Vital Signs report, which is now in its 13th year, is a good resource for both Calgarians and for the hundreds of the charities that the Calgary Foundation supports.

“I hope that Calgarians, if they have an issue that comes to the surface reading this report that they feel strongly about, that they care about, that they can learn about the organizations working in that space and maybe get involved in making a difference,” she said.

The Calgary organization is one of 30 community foundations across the country that issue a Vital Signs report during the same week each year.

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Re: the violence of white collar crime

Postby admin » Sat May 18, 2019 7:28 am

14 MPs turn up to discuss UN report on 14 million people living in poverty
Jack PeatJanuary 8, 2019

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The UN’s report on poverty in Britain is at risk of being swept under the carpet after just 14 MPs turned up to debate the issue in parliament yesterday.

A festive hangover appeared to have swept over the House of Commons as politicians returned from their holiday break.

Only a handful of MPs bothered to turn up to an adjournment debate on the findings of the United Nations Report on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights in the UK and Northern Ireland, with new Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd sending a junior minister in her place instead.

Although such debates are rarely well attended the Labour MPs who turned up lamented the government for the disdain it had shown towards the report, with Liz McInnes saying the United States Government showed a similar lack of interest when the UN highlighted issues in regards to poverty in the country.

“I know that we have a special relationship with the United States, but I think it shames us all that we share that disdain,” she said.

Following his visit in November, United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur, Professor Philip Alston gave a scathing report on the level of poverty in the UK, saying it risks causing damage to “the fabric of British society”.

He said the UK Government’s policies are entrenching high levels of poverty and inflicting unnecessary misery in one of the richest countries in the world, but warned that amid the country’s impending exit from the European Union the government appears to be treating it as an afterthought.

Yesterday his grim predictions seemed to have come true.

Labour’s Shadow Minister for Children, Emma Lewell-Buck hosted the debate on the UN report which was pushed back late into the evening.

With 14 million people living in poverty in the UK there was just one MP for every one million people who are suffering at the hands of the government, with the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions both absent and both previously “dismissing” the findings of the report.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd Prime Minister Theresa May

Conservative MP Justin Tomlinson assured parliament that the Tories will “consider the report seriously”, but added that they “obviously do not agree with all the points”. He added that his department will “keep on working with all stakeholders and partnership organisations to ensure that those in most need in society receive the support that they should”, saying they are “also looking at homelessness” too.

But his assurances fell short of the mark for the MPs in attendance.

DUP MP Jim Shannon said: “My constituency office is about 100 yards from the social security office—it is as close as that—and I have had numerous distressed people come from the social security office to my office looking for advice.

“I have written perhaps not to the Minister directly but to his Department to outline some of the changes that we feel should be made. In the light of those things, perhaps more needs to be done in the social security office to address the issues early on.”

And Labour MP Thelma Walker added: “As a former headteacher, I talk to a lot of my former colleagues. Many of them, of a morning, are washing children’s clothes and giving them breakfast.

“They are having to give children extra lunch because they are starving. Does the Minister agree that that is totally unnecessary and inappropriate? We should be caring for the most vulnerable in our society.”

The House was adjourned at 10.40pm. ... wITvMMYzOc
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Re: the violence of white collar crime

Postby admin » Thu Aug 02, 2018 2:57 am

On June 11, 2018, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Kitchener released its decision in the criminal sentencing of investment advisor Daniel Reeve:
R. v. Reeve, 2018 ONSC 3744. The Court handed out the first maximum sentence for fraud in Canadian history since the legislative changes in 2004 that increased the maximum jail sentence to 14 years.

What follows in this article are direct quotes from the trial and sentencing decisions. The statements themselves have more of an effect than we could convey by way of a summary. This blog post is helpful for fraud victims completing victim impact statements as the headings act as a checklist of the harms experienced by fraud victims that they should consider reporting to the Courts during the criminal sentencing or civil punitive damages phase of their case.

The Fraud

Daniel Reeve, 58 years old as of June 2018, was once a successful financial planner who owned and operated a number of licensed investment offices in Kitchener and the surrounding areas. Mr. Reeve and his firms developed an enviable reputation for integrity and success in the financial investment business.

Underneath this façade, in order to fund Mr. Reeve’s flamboyant lifestyle and failing businesses and to pay spousal support/equalization, Mr. Reeve entered into a variety of Ponzi schemes to attract investments into so-called low risk “bricks and mortar” real estate/commercial ventures. After a trial that lasted many months spanning a period of almost two years, Mr. Reeve was found guilty of defrauding at least 41 victims of approximately $10 million over the indictment period of January 2007 to September of 2009.

Woody Allen once described a stockbroker as someone who invests your money until it is all gone. The Court held that this is a good description of what Mr. Reeve did to his 41 victims. The Court held that the evidence was clear that the 41 victims deposited approximately $12 million with Mr. Reeve for what he described as “low-risk” corporate agreements. The low-risk investments were to provide interest rates of between 12 to 20 percent (sometimes higher), but in reality delivered losses in the staggering amount of approximately $10 million.

The Court noted that in the animal kingdom a predator seeks out the most vulnerable member of a herd and then ruthlessly hunts them down. The Court held that this was a fair description of the predatory tactics employed by Mr. Reeve in this large and lengthy fraud. One of the victims in her victim impact statement referred to Mr. Reeve as a monster. This comment was not unfair in these circumstances. There was no chance of any financial recovery for these 41 victims.

Fraud as Devastating as Violent Crime

The Judge who delivered the Reasons for Sentence stated that in over 40 years he had seen many victim impact statements from victims subjected to extreme physical harm and violation. The set of victim impact statements from these 41 victims was comparable to the impacts upon people who have been subjected to the cruel physical and psychological harm that you see in actual crimes of violence.

The Victim Impact Statements

The Court reported that due to the media coverage of the case and the victims’ names being published, some victims had become introverted and avoided conversations with family, friends and co-workers. Another victim stated that his embarrassment was greatly increased by the publication of his and his wife’s names in the newspaper.

We are not publishing any of the victims’ names in this story. What follows is a list of the negative impacts the victims experienced and continue to experience as a result of Reeve’s fraud.

Loss of Trust

One victim expressed a loss of the ability to trust people and/or financial institutions again. Another victim stated that she could not trust any person or organization. Yet another victim reported that trust was the foundation of all relationships and that her trust in people had been shattered.

Another victim reported that she no longer trusted people and was suspicious and doubting. She felt betrayed, shocked and upset and also felt shame and humiliation. Going to court was a nightmare. She was devastated.

Loss of Self Confidence

One victim reported that Mr. Reeve’s fraud destroyed everything she had spent building but also destroyed her faith and judgment in herself. Another victim reported that the ultimate punishment was to have her confidence in herself undermined. She felt helpless and disillusioned.

Another victim reported that he felt such embarrassment and discomfort about his loss that he quit evening school and stopped thinking about becoming a financial advisor. Another victim reported that he lost $450,000 and was mentally unable to take on a promotion at work.

Another victim reported that he had gone from enjoying a reasonably comfortable early retirement to being a recluse who worried about every dollar.

Despair and Suicide

One victim reported that as a result of Mr. Reeve’s fraud, she now shook with fear uncontrollably and had feelings of wanting to die. Another victim reported experiencing emotional torture and devastating spirals of despair.

Another victim reported personal shame, embarrassment and loss of self-worth that destroyed his 50 years of striving to prove his excellence to his family and community. Now he was too ashamed to be seen in public and as a result had relocated away from Kitchener.

Another victim reported that he had felt depressed and had lost sleep and that his decision-making process was not what it used to be. Another victim reported feelings of embarrassment and humiliation that turned to anger with feelings of sadness, regret and violation.

Another victim reported feeling “financially raped”. Her emotional world crumbled and her doctor prescribed anti-depressants and counselling. She thought about suicide as her life insurance would then help her son and daughter. Ten years later, she had lost many years of her life to a negative emotional state which still threatened to take her under. Her financial state remained dire.

Another victim reported feeling that he could not afford to go to a movie and basically did nothing but watch the world go by. Another victim reported that he stopped vacations with his children, as well as movies, dinners and outings.

Health Issues

One victim reported that as a result of Mr. Reeve’s fraud, he developed Ménière’s disease.” This resulted in disabling vertigo, dizziness and sleepless nights that took several years to overcome by a change in lifestyle and nutrition.

Another victim reported that the loss of her money, marriage, home, job, and return to school at age 48 put a great deal of stress on her, and that she was later diagnosed with a hyperthyroid condition.

Another victim reported that the stress caused a form of psoriasis on her hands and feet which made it difficult to walk. She further reported that the medication required to treat this condition cost $300 per month, even with a drug plan.

Another victim reported that the depression and sleepless nights might be a cause of the fibromyalgia from which she now suffered. Her self-doubt contributed to her physical suffering. Another victim reported that Reeve’s fraud had been a horrific emotional experience. Her nerves were bad, which caused an outbreak of eczema.

Another victim reported that she nearly died from internal bleeding and stomach reconstruction due to stress caused by Mr. Reeve stealing from her. Her trust level was now gone at a late stage of life.

Another victim reported spending a lot of time in hospital with symptoms of panic attacks, breathing problems and chest pains which he believed were caused by the loss of his savings. He was afraid for his future because he and his wife were in their late 80s and he was not sure how they would afford extra care for themselves.

Another victim reported that due to her stress she was diagnosed with AFib (atrial fibulation) or rapid heartbeat. Another victim reported developing high blood pressure and that he would be on medication for the rest of his life. This was a result of the stress of having to pay bills with no cash flow and wondering if he would be able to cover expenses. He was angry due to being forced to work in his later years due to his loss of money.

Another victim reported feeling angry all the time. He had not been to a dentist in years, as he could not afford it. Another victim reported that he had become fatigued and was mentally and emotionally unstable with frequent bouts of anger.

Loss of Marriage and Other Relationships

One victim reported that her husband had pressured her to invest with Reeve, and that Mr. Reeve’s fraud resulted in an overwhelming loss and complete financial blow that decimated her spousal relationship. She reported that Reeve’s fraud destroyed everything she had, emotionally and physically, including the loss of her marriage and her home. She reported that she was loath to trust another man and might never again have another significant relationship due to this catastrophic event.

Another victim, an honest truck driver who lost everything and was left with debt and depression, reported that as a result of his depression he went through a divorce. He had since remarried but any plans to retire at a normal age were long gone. He just wanted to give up.

Another victim reported that he suffered from anxiety and mood swings. This led to severe depression and hospitalization for approximately six weeks. This in turn led to his separation from his wife in April 2014 and ultimately divorce.

Another victim reported that she was facing an uncertain future as her husband had left her with three children and a mortgage renewal. One victim lost her life savings. She barely slept as she worked at night to earn extra money and cared for her children during the day. She and her husband nearly divorced but stayed together for their children.

Loss of Retirement / Requirement to Return to Work

One victim reported that Reeve’s fraud destroyed his retirement plans and that he and his wife, in her mid-50s, both returned to work despite his wife suffering from diabetes. Another victim reported that she had little financial reserves to see her through the rest of her life and had a general feeling of insecurity.

Another victim reported that her retired husband had to go back to work full time 7 days a week working 12 hour days to make up for their losses. Another victim reported that she was working full time plus two part time jobs in order to put money back into their retirement funds. Their dreams for an early retirement were gone.

Another victim reported being devastated and that she continued to lose sleep as she and her husband lost their money saved for retirement. Now nine years later, they continued to work and could not retire for a long time. Another victim reported that he and his wife had planned to retire earlier but were now working much later than expected. In the past they travelled, but this was no longer the case.

Consequential Loss to Children and Their Education

Many victims reported that due to Reeve’s fraud they were unable to adequately pay for their children’s education, university, weddings and/or other planned financial assistance for their children and/or parents/family.

Another victim reported that he and his wife lost everything at a time when their older daughter was starting university. Another victim reported that he and his wife had been forced to say no to all three of their sons when they asked for financial help. Another victim reported that ten years later, she had a larger mortgage and her children had large student debts.

Sale of Assets

One victim reported that due to Reeve’s fraud he and his wife sold their dream home to reduce their debt. Another victim reported that due to Reeve’s fraud she had to sell her house before the bank took it over.

Consumer Proposal and Bankruptcy Consequence

One victim reported that he was forced into a consumer proposal to avoid bankruptcy and ten years later, still worked a 60-80 hour work week.

Requirement for Third Party Support

One victim reported that due to Reeve’s fraud she could no longer afford to go on vacations, and at age 65 could no longer work due to numerous back surgeries. She had lost her retirement savings and her ability to purchase and sell houses, which was her plan. Her children were helping her instead of the other way around as she had planned.

Frauds Targeted the Vulnerable, Family and Friends

The Court found that Reeve’s frauds were not restricted to just the disabled, the elderly, the grieving and the vulnerable, but that he also went after his long-time trusted family friends and clients. The Court noted that one did not even have to be his client in order to be defrauded. The Court stated that no one was too vulnerable to escape Reeve’s claws — all were equal prey and fair game, and that it could safely be concluded that Daniel Reeve was a predator who had no conscience.

Financial Status of the Victims

The Court held that considering the particular circumstances of each offence and offender is a highly individualized exercise that goes beyond mathematical calculation. For example, a $100 million fraud on multi billionaires such as Warren Buffet or Bill Gates would have the impact of a pinprick, but a $63,000 fraud on an elderly widow who has limited income and assets and who was forced, due to the fraud, to pay a large income tax bill and to initially lose her old age security pension, produces devastating and ruinous consequences.

Community Impact Voiced through Regulators

The Mutual Fund Dealers Association (MFDA) stated the obvious in their community impact statement: “that fraud on the part of a financial advisor violates investor trust and undermines confidence in the entire financial services industry.”

The Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) reported that high risk and suspicious mortgage activity has increased by 52% in Canada since 2013, with Ontario seeing the majority of the increase, and that Mr. Reeve was not a licensed mortgage broker or agent with FSCO. FSCO reported that it expends considerable human capital, time and resources to address mortgage fraud such as those perpetrated by Mr. Reeve, which is paid for by the public, and that public confidence in the mortgage sector is lost causing a chilling effect as consumers are less inclined to invest and promote a healthy and competitive market.

The Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) wrote in its community statement that when advisors engage in fraud, they not only fail in their gatekeeper role, but also directly contribute to undermining investor confidence. This, in turn, threatens the strength of capital markets.

Motive & Opportunity

The Court held that the motive behind the frauds was to bolster Mr. Reeve’s ego and to fuel Mr. Reeve’s lavish and extravagant lifestyle. On the issue of opportunity, Mr. Reeve used his position as owner of his investment companies to obtain privileged and confidential financial information of his clients, which was given to him as their financial advisor.

In Court Apology

The Court held that although Mr. Reeve did apologize to the victims in a closing statement at the end of the sentencing hearing, his words were hollow. During his trial evidence, Mr. Reeve insisted he had done nothing wrong despite the absolutely overwhelming evidence of fraudulent intent and fraudulent conduct deliberately perpetrated. At sentencing his position did not change.

Remorse through the Presentence Report

The presentence report provided to the Court indicated that Reeve did not take responsibility for his offences, that he showed no remorse for any of his offences, and that he appeared to have little to no empathy for the victims’ losses. The report further indicated that Reeve denied any intent to defraud investors in any of his companies, and that he “fully expects to pay” in full anyone to whom he owed money or who lost money as a result of his conduct.

Breach of Trust

The court held that an aggravating factor was that Reeve was in a position of trust. His victims trusted and relied upon his advice. Mr. Reeve flagrantly abused that trust.

Not Licensed

The Court found that Mr. Reeve lost his licence to sell mutual funds in early 2007 and was not licensed to give financial/mortgage advice at the time he perpetrated his frauds, but did so anyway to the extreme detriment of the victims.


The Court held that Reeve’s fraud was committed for a period of approximately 2.5 years and involved a Ponzi scheme of considerable complexity and creative planning. The Court found that embedded within Reeve’s fraud were countless lies, deceptions and/or financial losses inflicted not only on the 41 victims but also upon many others including creditors, employees, other investors and even family members


The Court held that once it was apparent to Reeve that investors could never be repaid, he nonetheless lied repeatedly to the victims about repayment and entered into numerous repayment agreements that could not, and were not, complied with, thereby further tormenting and stressing the victims.

Downside of Trials for Rogues: Disclosure of a Dark Heart

The Court held that as the Crown had to fight for a conviction for every victim, the downside to Mr. Reeve was that the Crown laid a trail of economic deceitfulness that took numerous pages in the judgment to describe. As a consequence, the trial achieved more than proof beyond a reasonable doubt. It exposed the evil embedded in Mr. Reeve and that he was a pathologically dishonorable, deceitful individual who cared little about who he hurt as long as it was not him.

The Court held that sometimes Canadian criminal trials do more than just prove the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, sometimes they give us a window into the soul of dishonesty. The Court found the Reeve trial allowed us to look into the soul of Mr. Reeve. What was revealed beyond any reasonable doubt was a cold, calculating and clever man who was a master of deceit and manipulation who, despite the wreckage created by his greed and criminal acts, still maintains that he did nothing wrong.

Canada Should Not be a Safe Haven or Secure Refuge for Rogues

The legislative reforms in 2004 were part of a package that raised the maximum penalty for fraud from 10 years to 14 years. The legislative reforms were part of a package designed to ensure that Canada was not a safe haven or secure refuge for those intent on perpetrating frauds. The Court held that Parliament’s decision to increase the maximum penalty for fraud reflected its view of the increased seriousness of this offence, which is reflected in sentences imposed.

Parliament has increased the maximum sentence for fraud to send a message to fraudsters that Canada will not be a safe haven for criminals like Mr. Reeve. The problem is that it is a rare case where a rogue receives a serious sentence in this country. Further, even if penitentiary time is ordered, rogues are released into a halfway house after serving one sixth of a sentence, and then into their own home after serving a second sixth. Home arrest is of little consequence to rogues who can access electronics and perpetrate more crimes while theoretically in “custody.”

Justification for the Maximum Sentence

The Court held that a maximum sentence in a fraud case will rarely be imposed. A maximum sentence is only appropriate if the offence is of sufficient gravity and the offender displays sufficient blameworthiness. The sentencing inquiry must proceed on a case-by-case basis. The sentencing judge must consider all relevant factors.

The case law reveals that convictions for large scale, long-term frauds involving a breach of trust that has devastating consequences for the victims will attract a substantial penitentiary term. Denunciation and general deterrence are the paramount considerations in determining a fit sentence for large scale commercial frauds. The impact the fraud has had upon the victims is also a factor to be considered.

The Court further held that cases characterized as scams will normally call for significantly longer sentences than frauds committed in the course of a legitimate business. The trial revealed that the money raised for supposed real estate investments by Reeve was a scam.

The Court concluded that when Mr. Reeve had completed his fraud and the money was gone, many, if not most, of the victims, were left with lives of complete devastation, absolute destitution and utter despair, which in many cases continued to this day. Mr. Reeve, like a true predator, walked away until his arrest, with absolutely no empathy or remorse for the suffering and scarring left behind.

The Court asked itself rhetorically, if this scenario does not cry out for a maximum sentence, what does? The Court ruled that Mr. Reeve should receive the maximum sentence of 14 years jail.

Restitution Based on the Liquidated Loss

The Crown sought a restitution order of $20,042,314. This amount included principal and interest payments due to the victims pursuant to the signed agreements. The defence agreed that a restitution order should be made, but submitted that it should be restricted to the principal amounts (liquidated amounts) actually paid by the victims to Mr. Reeve — a total of $10,887,885.

The Court held that restitution orders are not civil remedies, and accordingly those orders should not include a claim for interest. The Court further held that restitution orders may be made, particularly in egregious circumstances such as breach of trust, even where there appears to be no likelihood of repayment and that although inability to pay is a factor to be considered, it is not determinative.

The Court ruled that even though there was no likelihood of repayment, a restitution order for Mr. Reeve to pay his victims $10,887,885 would be made. The Court denied the Crown’s application for interest payments to be included in the restitution.

Jail in Lieu of Forfeiture

The Criminal Code provides that where an accused is convicted of a designated offence (such as Fraud Over $5,000), the Court “shall” order the property be forfeited to the Crown. The objective of this provision is to deprive offenders and criminal organizations of proceeds of crime and thereby deter future crimes. Jail (or fines) in lieu of forfeiture is not a punishment. It is a deterrent.

The Court ruled that Mr. Reeve would be ordered to pay a jail in lieu of forfeiture order of $10,887,885, which equals the amount of the restitution order. The Court gave Mr. Reeve 10 years to pay after he was released from jail. If Mr. Reeve defaults in making the payment and the Crown can prove that he has assets, the Crown could apply to have Mr. Reeve serve a further 10 years of jail time. Canada has virtually no track record for enforcing these orders.

The Court directed that the restitution order shall take priority over payment of the jail in lieu of forfeiture ordered, and the jail in lieu of forfeiture shall be reduced by any amount paid by Mr. Reeve pursuant to the restitution order. This is a standard order to ensure that victims receive compensation ahead of the government collecting fines from rogues.

Peace Bond

The Crown sought a lifetime common law peace bond restricting Mr. Reeve from having control over another person’s money. The Criminal Code contains a provision that the Court may make an order prohibiting an offender from seeking, obtaining or continuing any employment, or continuing any employment, or being a volunteer in any capacity that involves having authority over real property, money or valuable security of another person. The order can be for any period, including life. The Court chose not to impose this form of peace bond order in this case.

Don’t Blame the Victim

Those who are opposed to incarcerating rogues for any meaningful period of time as punishment, and for general and specific deterrence purposes, are sometimes quick to blame the victim for a lack of due diligence. The Kitchener Record quoted the lead investigator Detective Norman DeBoer of Waterloo Regional Police as stating:

“We always have the tendency to think the victims weren’t showing due diligence. We have to understand that when somebody is a predator … it could have happened to anyone. “I’m really thankful the judge made (the sentencing) about the victims.”

And that is the bottom line in this case. This is a rare case where a Court focused on the impact of the fraud on the victims and then hammered the predator rogue with the maximum sentence.

The Reported Decision

The Court’s sentencing decision is reported as R. v. Reeve, 2018 ONSC 3744, and is online at: ... ultIndex=2

The Court’s trial decision is reported at R. v. Reeve, 2017 ONSC 5376, or online at: ... ultIndex=1

It is unknown if Mr. Reeve will be appealing this decision, but give that is the first maximum sentence for fraud ever issued under the increased 14 year term, there is a chance he may.


At Investigation Counsel, we investigate and litigate fraud recovery cases. If you discover you are a victim of fraud, contact us to have your case assessed and a strategy for recovery mapped out before contacting police or alerting the fraudster. We also promote victim advocacy and academic discussion through various private and public professional associations and organizations. If you have an interest in the topics discussed herein, we welcome your inquiries.
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Re: the violence of white collar crime

Postby admin » Sat Apr 14, 2012 9:21 pm

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April 14, 2012

Increasingly in Europe, Suicides ‘by Economic Crisis’

Eoin O’Conaill for The International Herald Tribune
George Mordaunt of Clonmel, Ireland, considered suicide when his car business hit hard times.


TREVISO, Italy — On New Year’s Eve, Antonio Tamiozzo, 53, hanged himself in the warehouse of his construction business near Vicenza, after several debtors did not pay what they owed him.

Three weeks earlier, Giovanni Schiavon, 59, a contractor, shot himself in the head at the headquarters of his debt-ridden construction company on the outskirts of Padua. As he faced the bleak prospect of ordering Christmas layoffs at his family firm of two generations, he wrote a last message: “Sorry, I cannot take it anymore.”

The economic downturn that has shaken Europe for the last three years has also swept away the foundations of once-sturdy lives, leading to an alarming spike in suicide rates. Especially in the most fragile nations like Greece, Ireland and Italy, small-business owners and entrepreneurs are increasingly taking their own lives in a phenomenon some European newspapers have started calling “suicide by economic crisis.”

Many, like Mr. Tamiozzo and Mr. Schiavon, have died in obscurity. Others, like the desperate 77-year-old retiree who shot himself outside the Greek Parliament on April 4, have turned their personal despair into dramatic public expressions of anger at the leaders who have failed to soften the blows of the crisis.

A complete picture of the phenomenon across Europe is elusive, as some countries lag in reporting statistics and coroners are loath to classify deaths as suicides, to protect surviving family members. But it is clear that countries on the front line of the economic crisis are suffering the worst, and that suicides among men have increased the most.

In Greece, the suicide rate among men increased more than 24 percent from 2007 to 2009, government statistics show. In Ireland during the same period, suicides among men rose more than 16 percent. In Italy, suicides motivated by economic difficulties have increased 52 percent, to 187 in 2010 — the most recent year for which statistics were available — from 123 in 2005.

Researchers say the trend has intensified this year as government austerity measures took hold and compounded the hardships for many. While suicides often have many complex causes, researchers have found that severe economic stress corresponds to higher suicide rates.

“Financial crisis puts the lives of ordinary people at risk, but much more dangerous is when there are radical cuts to social protection,” said David Stuckler, a sociologist at the University of Cambridge, who led a study published in The Lancet that found a sharp rise in suicides across Europe, particularly in seriously affected countries like Greece and Ireland from 2007 to 2009, years that coincided with the downturn.

“Austerity can turn a crisis into an epidemic,” Mr. Stuckler added.

Veneto, a region that was the engine of Italy’s economic growth in the 1990s, has been especially hard hit. In this part of the country, which includes the cities of Treviso, Vicenza and Padua, more than 30 small-business people have committed suicide in the last three years for reasons tied to their work as the area has been whipsawed by global trends including a drop in industrial orders, competition from China and tight bank credit.

Though the phenomenon has been particularly acute in the region, it has recently spread to Bologna, Catania and Rome.

In Rome this month, Mario Frasacco, 59, whose company made aluminum fixtures, killed himself, much to the shock of Rome’s small-business association, where he had been a board member. Other members were surprised when he suddenly canceled a business trip with them to Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, scheduled for May.

“Now, unfortunately, we sadly understand the probable reason why,” Erino Colombi, the association’s president, said in a statement. The association has organized a candlelight vigil on Wednesday to honor the victims of the economic crisis in Rome.

In Ireland, the phenomenon has been linked to what some therapists call Celtic Tiger depression, the period after 2008 characterized by an influx of middle-aged male patients who complained about sleeplessness and a lack of appetite in the aftermath of that nation’s destructive boom-and-bust real estate market.

To search for answers, researchers for the National Suicide Research Foundation in Cork interviewed surviving relatives of 190 people who committed suicide in County Cork during the turbulent period from 2008 to March 2011.

The victims were predominantly men, with an average age of 36. Almost 40 percent were unemployed, and 32 percent worked in construction as plumbers, electricians and plasterers, said Ella Arensman, the foundation’s director of research. Generally, she added, they suffered from a constellation of problems: financial struggles, unemployment, broken relationships and loneliness.

Across Europe, men are the most vulnerable, particularly unmarried men who have weak family and government support, according to Mr. Stuckler, the sociologist. Alcohol abuse is a frequent contributing factor, he said, adding, “It’s really important to have friends and family you can trust in hard times.”

Indeed, during one dark night in his life, George Mordaunt, 44, said he nearly became a statistic. For three years, until 2007, he helped to build up his family’s 30-year-old automobile business in Clonmel, in southern Ireland, adding three new dealerships. Then, in 2008, the crisis struck. Now all that remains is the original family dealership.

Mr. Mordaunt said he considered suicide after a tough-talking banker threatened to seize his home if he did not repay his loans: “Save the sob story. We want our money. If that means taking your family home, we’ll do it,” he recalled being told.

That night, he said, he wandered into his sleeping son’s room, dwelling on the fate of another man he knew who had committed suicide and imagining his own funeral with his children marching behind a hearse.

“How many other people lie awake at night with the same fears?” he asked. “How many people are on the verge of losing everything? Everyone in Ireland must become active in our rescue.

“We don’t communicate and don’t share because we are laced with unreal pride. My view is you become active and stand up to the banks.”

Mr. Mordaunt ultimately founded a counseling service, Insight, offering advice to people seeking to renegotiate bank debt.

Such circumstances are sometimes reversed in Italy, where in some cases it is the government that has not paid its debts to struggling businessmen. National legislation aimed at curbing public spending has caused state and local administrations to rack up billions of dollars in outstanding bills with creditors, putting a squeeze on many small businesses.

“That is the madness of this crisis, that people kill themselves because they haven’t been paid by public institutions,” said Massimo Nardin, a spokesman for the Padua Chamber of Commerce.

On average, government agencies pay their bills within 180 days, but in the public health sector that can stretch to two or three years, one of the worst records in Europe, says Marco Beltrandi, a lawmaker from the Radical Party. He estimated the outstanding credit as between $118.3 billion and $131.5 billion.

“Late payments were always the norm,” Mr. Beltrandi said, “but now it’s gotten out of hand. That’s why the problem has exploded.”

Private creditors are holding back, too. “The problem is the system, no one is paying any more — private, public, it’s all blocked,” said Salvatore Federico, general secretary of the Veneto branch of the Filca Cisl construction workers’ union. “The situation in general is stalled, and my sense is that no one knows how to get out of it.”

In the Veneto, the spate of suicides is a mark of social unease in a territory where the Roman Catholic Church used to hold considerable sway.

“Work became the religion here, and over time it has weakened the family — because if all you do is work, work, work, you have little else to fall on when that fails,” said the Rev. Davide Schiavon, who heads the Treviso branch of the Catholic charity Caritas, which recently inaugurated a program to assist businesspeople facing financial difficulties. (Father Schiavon is not related to Giovanni Schiavon.)

Social scientists say that some nations, like Sweden or Finland, avoided a rise in suicide rates in times of crisis because they invested in labor-market projects — initiatives to help get people back on their feet — instead of cash handouts.

In some places, community groups and charities have tried to provide a patchwork of aid along with suicide prevention campaigns to raise awareness. In Ireland, at Saint Peter and Paul’s parish in Clonmel, the church offered a three-day seminar on themes like “Suicide in Recessionary Times.”

Suicide prevention hot line numbers are posted in gas stations on the road to Dublin, and a number of prominent figures are speaking out on the issue, among them the president of Ireland, rugby stars and U2’s bass player, Adam Clayton, who is raising money for free mental health services for young adults with a national Walk in My Shoes day on April 26.

In Italy, business associations and trade unions, in a rare show of unity, say they are frustrated that the issue has not gotten more attention.

“This is a social malaise, we’re inside a tunnel and there’s no light at any end,” said Mr. Federico, whose union is starting a new foundation to assist victims of the economic crisis. The daughters of Giovanni Schiavon and Antonio Tamiozzo are among the founding members.

“People don’t kill themselves just because they have debts,” Mr. Federico said, “it’s a combination of factors that lead to desperation.

“But what links all these situations ultimately is indifference, and lack of respect for the years of work that they’d done,” he said. “On some level, they must have felt that.”

Elisabetta Povoledo reported from Treviso, and Doreen Carvajal from Lahardane, Ireland. ... f=business
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Re: the violence of white collar crime

Postby admin » Thu May 26, 2011 11:35 am

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First of all, it's important to realize that acknowledging betrayal is extremely painful. Not only is it cruel, neuroscientists are beginning to realize that betrayal provokes a chemical reaction in the brain. In an intriguing experiment, participants were put into an investment game where they were cheated by a fellow player. Their brains showed neural activity in the "emotion and fear learning" center, the amygdala. After being ripped off, participants were less likely to take social risks, and showed signs of social phobia. We already know that when people are afraid, "exploratory activity and risk-taking are turned off." Betrayal causes us to stop trusting, but it also causes us to stop exploring and to stop thinking. Repeated betrayals can eventually cause damage to our mental well-being.
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Re: the violence of white collar crime

Postby admin » Mon Oct 25, 2010 6:34 pm

The Dangers Of Living In A Land Of Strung Out Debt Junkies

Ashvin Pandurangi, Simple Planet | Oct. 21, 2010

Image: Los Angeles
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A Fingerprint of Instability in Biology and Finance
Fear & Loathing in the Divided States of America
Frantic Americans
Complexity Cartoon
The late, great Hunter S. Thompson captured the current sentiment of American society best when he wrote the following words 40 years ago, in his book Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas [1]:
"You can turn your back on a person, but you can never turn your back on a drug, especially when it's waving a razor sharp hunting knife in your eye."

America has defined itself as a society of collective "drug people," pushers, addicts, and associates, with our drug of choice being debt. We happily injected drugs worth 300 percent of our GDP straight into our veins, and made our international dealers filthy rich in the process.

The constant influx of drugs into our bodies made us feel super-human, as if we were instantaneously able to afford TVs, computers, cars, and homes with the swipe of a card and the flick of a pen. Of course, as any regular drug user can attest, the human biological system becomes increasingly tolerant to the jolts of external chemicals and requires ever-larger doses to achieve the same effects.

The economy rapidly became saturated with debt, since economic actors needed to take on more and more debt to simply pay off previous debts and maintain their current level of activity. In 2007-08, the private debt servicing costs overwhelmed the "high" produced from this mostly unproductive debt, in the form of artificially elevated asset prices and revenue streams, and the national body had no more financial capacity to absorb additional drugs. With no more access to their drug of choice after a decades-long binge, the addicts began going through severe withdrawal. The drug-induced mentality of happiness, trust and tolerance was quickly replaced with collective feelings of sickness, fear and resentment.

Individuals who abuse drugs face a deck deeply stacked against their survival and/or a stable existence, but there is always a distinct possibility that they can be "rehabilitated". With some strong support from family and friends, the addict can go into a "program", take the necessary medications, attend the required counseling, learn some discipline and then come out on the other side a healed creature.

Recovery is likely when the drug consumed is relatively weak, the duration of addiction is relatively short and the addict's community is a strong source of support. The dynamics become significantly less favorable in a society of millions of addicts, all feeding off of each others' addictions and desperation, without many voices of support or reason. In this environment it becomes much easier for addicts to deny that they even have a problem, let alone it needs to be fixed, and the disconnect between fantasy and reality persists despite the symptoms of societal sickness steadily worsening over time.

These symptoms grow gradually more influential as the withdrawal continues, and they can also lead to sudden, acute episodes of collective discomfort.

Many addicts in this situation will simply refuse to face the harsh new reality and continue doing anything they can to find their next fix, especially when there is a friend or family member financially enabling them to get a few more hits (enablers). In the wake of peak financial activity in the private sector, the American government popped in and told its citizens "not to worry", because it would provide the temporary subsidies, tax credits or backstops that they needed to get another debt fix.

It also whispered to the dealers "not to worry", because it would keep their profitable drug trade going, seeing as how it supported such a significant percentage of the economy and the past promises made to a now restive population. American addicts continued a sporadic debt binge for some time, but on the whole they continued to be priced out of the saturated market.

The struggling addicts eventually have to start fending for themselves, as government income is increasingly consumed by direct or indirect handouts, and it transforms into the "friend" who is giving up on the incorrigible addict. What's left is a society of fiendish, debt-starved addicts who, with increasingly little to lose, project their misfortunes onto others.

There is very little room for trust in the minds of addicts, since they feel betrayed in some way by all of the people who surround them. The addicts will simultaneously fear and resent dealers, friends, family, authority figures or even strangers, because these are the people who have exploited them, enabled them, ostracized them or are competing with them for survival.

A drug dealer can be the addict's knight in shining armor when times are good and highs are cheap, but rotten crooks when the supply runs out and the sickness sets in. Americans and small businesses now find themselves in the schizophrenic split-state of both depending on debt pushers to continue financing routine activities, and hating them for privatizing the gains of their drug trade, socializing the losses and continuing to operate in what appears to be good health.

It is unsurprising that more than twice as many debt addicts blame their creditors (51percent) for the latest financial crisis than themselves (24 percent). [2]. However, drug users typically hesitate to confront their dealers in any significant way because they respect the money, power and influence wielded by these dealers. They can cut off users' supply to more drugs or even harm/kill them or their families if they really start acting up.

Major American banks can certainly cut off access to additional debt or refuse to negotiate with struggling debtors and repossess much of their secured property. When the powerful dealers are largely untouchable, much of an addict's residual loathing is focused on the system at large and those who manage it.

Drug users typically acquire their destructive habits at an early age, aided in no small part by the central institutions they have relied on, such as their household, community, school or government. Once the joyous journey of drug-filled exploits has run its course, addicts are left with an empty life within a pitiless system. The American journey has been characterized by a federal government and central bank which has stopped at nothing to encourage the debt addictions of their citizens, all the while insinuating that the drugs were necessary for a normal and successful existence.

Americans took this propaganda to heart, and now that the debt drugs have run out, they are actually left with the opposite of what they were promised. Movement epitomizes a strung-out population of addicts who have grown extremely tired of all the lies and unfulfilled promises, and are enraged at those who have so casually fueled their destructive habits for years on end. They correctly identified the central government as a corrupt institution which puts on a public face of sympathy and compassion for the American addicts, while secretly dividing up the profits of the drug trade with dealers instead. Of course, the hellish fury of an addict scorned can express itself in many ways.

Some of the debt addicts get together in meetings and communicate their hatred of the "big, betraying brother" who constantly looms over them. They carry signs filled with anger, make rapacious rants or generally protest the fact that their share of the drugs is being diverted to others, but their unrest is mitigated by lingering flashbacks to a previous state of debt intoxication.

Other addicts have realized that they can talk all day and never secure any more drugs or become healthy, so they attempt to join the dealer complex, where they will bring down the destructive debt trade from the inside and liberate their fellow addicts from the sickness. Sadly, when these addicts successfully make the transition from the world of users to the world of dealers, they usually forget all about the plight of the addicted and sell out for a share of the profits. A few hit rock bottom, and give up all hope on a return to normalcy or a bearable existence. One such American addict decided that instead of protesting or running for political office, he would get behind the controls of an airplane and fly it straight into a Texan IRS building.

It's hard to blame the bottomed-out debt addicts for expressing anger or even seeking revenge against the dealers or authority figures who worked to destroy their lives. The latter are especially contemptible when they constantly tell people to "stay away from drugs", but make it so damn easy for them to get some and even profit off of their addiction. Unfortunately, these institutions are the most inaccessible to the average addict, and so their fear and pain is more readily projected onto those that may actually care about them...the direct financial effect on the families of those who have been wiped out by a destructive debt addiction.

The debt servicing costs of Americans consumed an all time high of ~14 percent of income in 2007, and these costs have had devastating effects on families whose incomes have continued to stagnate, decrease or have altogether disappeared. [3]. Families of the addicts may eventually lose their homes, cars, and all the fancy things they have accumulated over years, returning to a state of frugal existence unexpected and long forgotten.

It is also the case that there is a high correlation between drug abuse and domestic violence (61 percent of domestic violence offenders also report substance abuse problems) [4].

Could unserviceable debt be one of the destructive substances contributing to domestic violence in America? The National Domestic Violence Hotline reported a 21 percent increase in calls from September 2007 to September 2008, and 54 percent of these callers reported a change in their financial situation over the last year.

Women in the lowest income category experienced six times the rate of nonfatal domestic violence than those in the highest category between 2001-2005, and women are three times as likely to experience domestic violence if their male partners have experienced two or more periods of unemployment over five years. Although there are obviously many factors that affect rates of domestic violence, financial instability certainly seems to undermine the psychological stability of male addicts and may lead them to express their sickness through violent behavior.

The Director of the Gender & Health Research Unit at South African Medical Research Council, Rachel Jewkes, has produced research suggesting that deteriorating finances leads men to feel that they have failed to live up to society's expectations of masculine success, and these men turn to misogyny, substance abuse and crime to fill the gap between expectations and reality. [5].

Many drug addicts also vent their sickness by directing anger towards abstract groups of strangers around the world, since these groups are perceived as leading relatively "better" lives or posing an ephemeral threat to the addicts' chances of survival. After 9/11, American addicts became enraged at a decentralized group of Muslim "terrorists", who had disrupted their comfortable existence at a time when they were just managing to "recover" from a debt-induced recession.

The population expressed strong support for an invasion of Afghanistan and were also convinced by the Bush complex that Saddam Hussein's Iraq posed a major threat. As these wars progressed and the American economy took off in another debt bubble, however, the comfortably numb addicts began questioning the wisdom of these wars, which were costing unconscionable amounts of lives and money.

Between 2003 and 2005, public support for the Iraq war fell from 69 percent to 45 percent, and by 2006, 44 percent of addicts believed acts of terrorism were "not too likely" or "not at all likely" to occur in their communities over the "next several weeks". [6]. In stark contrast, during the ongoing debt deflation over the last year, the number of people who believed another terrorist attack is "very likely" to occur in the United States within the "next several months" increased by 14 percent, and "somewhat likely" over the "next several weeks" by 16percent. [7]. Recently, some American addicts increasingly feel threatened by the general Muslim population.

Another large group of people targeted by American fiends has been the illegal Mexican population residing within the country. For many years, the flow of illegals from Mexico into American border states established a mutually beneficial geopolitical relationship, as the Mexican government kept social unrest in check and the economies of border states were supported by cheap labor and increased revenues. [8]. Now, many American addicts feel that the illegals are acting as a drag on the economy and sucking up unskilled jobs at a time when broad U-6 unemployment measures 17 percent.

This piece has focused on the American people's debt addictions, but there are other inter-related addictions at play now. We have all been addicted to high standards of living, large returns on investments, appreciating assets, government entitlements, cheap oil and imperial hegemony. All of these things forged a level of systemic trust and confidence that is now quickly evaporating along with the drugs that fueled it. American addicts had surely made beasts of themselves, getting rid of "the pain of being a man", but are now forced to deal with the sober reality that has stewed and festered in the previously dark corners of their lives.

Politicians and pundits would like us to believe that we can restore our addictions and avoid the painful symptoms of withdrawal, but they are either ignorant of reality or lying and praying the addicts never figure out how sick they really are. Perhaps they are also blinded by their own addictions, as public debt burdens are becoming weighty and unmanageable. The individual debt addicts may be waving razor-sharp hunting knives in the societal eye, but then the strung-out government addicts are waving military hardware and atomic bombs. If Thompson were still alive, he may have remarked that, with the right kind of eyes, we could stand on a steep hill and almost see the high water mark, where the wave finally broke and rolled back. One thing I know for sure is that I'm not going to turn my back on anyone, anytime soon.

**This piece is dedicated to the brilliantly insightful ideas and writings of Hunter S. Thompson:

"No explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant ... "

Read more: ... z13Os3NjJH

Jim Roache
Ottawa, ON
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Re: the violence of white collar crime

Postby admin » Thu Apr 29, 2010 10:29 pm

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What if the criminal code could be used to prosecute those who inflict suffering on other humans?

What if placing a human in distress was a criminal offense?
That is what financial abusers, corporate abusers, and legal abusers do to other humans.
Criminal code of Canada
Causing unnecessary suffering
445.1 (1) Every one commits an offence who(a) wilfully causes or, being the owner, wilfully permits to be caused unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to an .....................................this section applies to abuse of animals, but putting a human in distress is every bit as hurtful as placing an animal in distress, and it happens every day by Canada's financial industry.
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Re: the violence of white collar crime

Postby admin » Sun Dec 06, 2009 4:58 pm

Dear Ms. Burke,

I have been following the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Right's review of Bill C-52 with interest. Without either our knowledge or consent, my wife and I had much of our retirement savings transferred from T-bills into 'non-bank asset backed commercial paper' (ABCP) in July 2007. Two weeks later this toxic product was worthless. We spent much of the next two years working with many of the other 1800 'retail' ABCP owners to get our money back. This traumatic experience has provided direct evidence of how the present system of dealing with white collar fraud simply does not work.
In our case we were able to use the CCAA process to force a settlement where most of the retail owners were repaid in exchange for agreeing to support a corporate restructuring. However, approximately 3 dozen retail owners who had savings of over $1M have not been repaid, a father of a disabled child who had no money to pay his bills committed suicide, other ABCP owners had their lives severely disrupted and 22 billion dollars worth of corporate assets have disappeared from the Canadian economy. Despite widespread allegations of fraud, the self regulatory bodies such as the OSC and IIROC have not prosecuted any of the individuals or institutions that were responsible for this fiasco. Our appeals for assistance from the RCMP's IMET where referred to the self regulatory bodies. "Small" folks like ourselves where simply left to "duke it out" with some of the largest financial organizations in the country. Most of the retail owners were very fortunate to regain their savings. However there was no opportunity to obtain compensation for two years of work or the personal turmoil and hardship that this fraudulent savings product caused. More importantly, none of the responsible parties have been held accountable.

I would welcome the opportunity to appear before the Committee to discuss how the lessons learned during this experience might assist them in improving Bill C-52 and the procedures by which white collar crime is prosecuted in Canada.
Thank you kindly for your consideration.

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Re: the violence of white collar crime

Postby admin » Mon Nov 09, 2009 8:48 am

Dear Mr. Elford,

I am wondering if you could possibly remove my parents story from your Breach of Trust web site.

I can't do this anymore., I feel like I am going to have a nervous breakdown and I just want my life back.

We have filed a civil suit, but all the defendants plan to defend and we can't even find a lawyer to help.

The second broker involved wants us to dismiss with costs at substantial indemnity because he says we are ruining his reputation....and although we completely believe we have been royally screwed over and that we had every right to pursue justice and to seek answers I just need this to be over. I guess it is impossible to beat the system so instead I just want to try to get my life back before I end up breaking down completely.

I am sure you understand where we are coming from...I don't know how you keep fighting Larry, because I am so beat down and wore out right now I am scared of what will happen to my health if I don't get some relief from the stress I am under....

Please keep up the good work you are doing Larry because I don't have it in my anymore...they won, they broke me and turned me into a shaking, anxiety ridden mess....I can't even type with out crying anymore...that is why I have to just put this aside and move on...

Thank you for your cooperation is this matter and your previous advice and support.
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Re: the violence of white collar crime

Postby admin » Sat Sep 19, 2009 10:51 pm

Structurists are the independent contractors who recruited members, through entities such as the Institute for Financial Learning and Capital Alternatives Inc., to invest in plans run by Milowe Brost and Gary Allen Sorenson.

Gloria Lozinski said her sister Edna Coulic invested more than $300,000 in the scheme, which promised 30 per cent to 40 per cent returns. Eighteen months ago, Coulic learned her money was likely lost forever.

"She was outgoing, vibrant, sociable, kind, giving, sharing. She was genuinely a really great person who wouldn't do harm to anybody," Lozinski said.

Coulic, who had worked hard to build a career in real estate and had once planned to spend some of her promised fortune on her aging mother, sunk into depression and committed suicide in October 2008.

Her family places blame for her death squarely on the people perpetrating the alleged scam.

"Her demeanour changed to the point where she lost her zest for life." Lozinski said. "She was a very intelligent, articulate woman. There's no way she would have been conned except if these guys were very, very good at what they did."

Lozinski said she hopes structurists are charged if they participated in any fraud.

"These people were the key players and I would like to see all their assets liquidated and dispersed among the victims."

(investor advocate is so very sorry for this loss due to our system in Canada. Please accept our condolences and our explanation for publishing this photo in support of change. I am personally aware of more suicides due to financial crime and abuse in Canada, than I am aware of prosecutions for same)
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Re: the violence of white collar crime

Postby admin » Fri Sep 18, 2009 5:25 pm

Victims burned while RCMP fiddled for years with
Alberta Ponzi scheme


It would have been Edna Coulic's 44th birthday today. The Kelowna woman won't be around to
celebrate because she committed suicide last October.
Her sister, Gloria Lozinksi of Calgary, said Coulic became depressed after she realized she had been
duped out of $300,000 in a massive Ponzi scheme perpetrated by Alberta confidence men Milowe
Brost and Gary Sorenson.
Both were charged with fraud by the RCMP Integrated Market Enforcement Team in Calgary earlier
this week. Estimates of total losses range from $100 million to $400 million. Brost is out on bail, and
Sorenson is believed to be hiding in Honduras.
Lozinski figures they should both be charged with murder: "At the end of the day, they pretty much
pulled the trigger," she told the Calgary Sun.
This is the brutal reality of white-collar crime. It is not simply a crime against property, it is a very
personal and debilitating assault against innocent people.
Parliament is beginning to respond. In 2004, the Criminal Code was amended to increase the
maximum sentence for fraud from 10 years to 14 years. Earlier this week, the Conservative
government announced it will introduce further amendments that, among other things, would provide
minimum mandatory sentences for serious frauds.
It is not likely, however, that any of this would have saved Coulic. The damage had already been done.
The key is to detect these schemes at an early stage and prosecute the perpetrators in a timely
manner. The problem is not so much what we do with fraudsters when they get to court, it's getting
them to court. In this regard, Canada is a complete failure.
I first wrote about Brost in December 2002, when he was pitching his investment schemes at T. Harv
Eker's Millionaire School. (Eker is a North Vancouver motivational speaker who has introduced his
devotees to many fraudulent investment schemes. He is, in my view, a public menace.)
At the time, Brost and his company, Capital Alternatives Inc., was promoting a gold investment
scheme, which was based in the Bahamas and operated out of Central and South America. He told
investors the scheme was "backed 100 per cent in gold concentrate and gold bullion", and the
expected return was 20 to 60 per cent.
He was also promoting an investment in "stale credit card debt," which he grandly called the ... 7&sponsor=
"Consumer Debt Recovery Program". He claimed thissort of debt could be acquired at a deep discount
and turned into cash at a large premium -- 18 to 54 per cent per year.
In June 2004, I reported that Brost was stumping around B.C. promoting these schemes.
"A few weeks ago, he made a presentation at University College of the Cariboo in Kamloops," I wrote
at the time. "On May 30, there was another meeting at the Radisson Hotel in Burnaby. The pitch
appears to be working. I have been told that one man in his 60s has invested $250,000 of his
retirement money."
I asked Sasha Angus, then the B.C. Securities Commission's enforcement director, whether he knew
about Brost's activities.
"We are aware of the situation and looking at it," Angus told me.
In September 2004, the Alberta Securities Commission issued a cease-trade order against Brost and
his main operating company, the Institute for Financial Learning, forbidding them from selling
investments in the depository and three other schemes.
In October 2005, the Alberta commission issued another notice of hearing alleging that Brost and
Capital Alternatives had induced investors to invest millions of dollars into another scheme called
Strategic Metals Inc.
At that point, the commission referred the file to the RCMP Integrated Market Enforcement Team,
which began an investigation.
In February 2007, the hearing panel found Brost had illegally sold $36.5 million in investments. "Brost
not only does not recognize the seriousness of his misconduct, but he is also prepared to shamelessly
overlook it," the panel noted. It fined him $650,000 and permanently banned him from the Alberta
The B.C. Securities Commission piggy-backed on this order and also issued a permanent ban, but not
until April of this year.
It didn't matter, of course, because Brost ignored every administrative order that was issued against
him. The only thing that would stop him was jail. But the RCMP IMET team in Calgary didn't file
charges and didn't put Brost behind bars until this week -- four years after the Alberta commission had
referred the file to the police.
Why did this take so long? Supt. Eric Mattson, who heads the IMET team, told the Calgary Herald they
"could not act until there was enough evidence. "
"During that time, we didn't want to be seen as market-breakers. We don't want to accuse a group of ... 7&sponsor=
committing crimes and say, 'Don't do this,' because at the end of the investigation perhaps we don't
have sufficient information to lay charges and we'd be open to [civil litigation] as well. We may end up
interfering with what could have been legitimate business."
In my view, these comments are outrageous. This was a patently fraudulent scheme when I ran across
it in 2002. It was a patently fraudulent scheme when the Alberta commission referred it to the RCMP in
2005. Depending which start date you use, it took seven years or four years for the Mounties to shut
this thing down. That is a disgrace. But the real tragedy for Canadians is that this is par for the course.
Two years ago, the Conservative government tried to clean up the mess that is the RCMP IMET
program, but the attempt has utterly failed. Prime Minister Stephen Harper's proposed amendments to
the criminal code will do nothing to solve the problem of timely prosecution.
What we need is a royal commission of inquiry into white-collar crime in Canada. Nothing short of a
complete overhaul can save us from this systemic dysfunction. Let's not allow Edna Coulic to die in
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Re: the violence of white collar crime

Postby admin » Sat Jul 04, 2009 12:49 pm

Post-Madoff era of scrutiny won't last

New, improved Street order a fantasy world

William Hanley, Financial Post

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Burt Ross, one of the 8,000 aggrieved former clients of Bernie Madoff, made an eloquent statement after the US$65-billion Ponzi schemester was sentenced this week to 150 years behind bars. "What Bernard L. Madoff did far transcends the loss of money," he declared on the court house steps in Manhattan. "It involves the virtues people hold dearest: love, friendship, trust."

Ross and thousands of others have been terribly wounded financially and emotionally. But "love" should have no place in financial matters. And "friendship" probably should not be high on the list of priorities in commercial relationships. "Trust," meantime, should belong. But don't count on it. Virtue and $3 will not buy you a good cup of coffee on Wall Street.

The Madoff case put the spotlight on how the rich and famous could get taken in, with some people and organizations losing hundreds of millions and others merely hundreds of thousands, many of them trading the penthouse for the poor house. They felt the love all those years when the outsized returns were pouring in, basking in the friendship of someone who seemed a warmhearted market wizard. "In Bernie, we trust" might have been their motto.

At the other end of the investing scale, people I know have never felt the love of their financial planners. But some have counted their advisors as friends and socialized with them on occasion in good times. They, too, have been hurt financially by practices that may not be criminal, but certainly were unethical and unprofessional.

Criminal it may not be. Yet, as with crime, bad behaviour can bloom when self-interest, the bedrock of our system, is coupled with motive and opportunity -- the essential ingredients of crime. And it's not just the self-interest of the money manager, but the self-interest of the client who can enable the bad behaviour in good times.

Not that Wall Street and Bay Street have a monopoly on malfeasance. People in all walks of life, in all kinds of businesses and jobs, are just as likely to have the motive and opportunity to gain at the expense of others, who are equally as likely to be looking out to try something on. Greed -- self-interest on steroids --is everywhere.

But the rewards to be reaped from turning motive into opportunity on the Street can be far larger than elsewhere and easier to attain, as the Madoff scandal has made so clear. Marry unprincipled, unbridled self-interest with the self-interest of clients willing to believe in something that's too good to be true and the result is the very antithesis of love, friendship and trust.

But will hate and suspicion be the defining emotions on the Street, ushering in a new age in which financial advisors really do know their clients, and the clients know themselves and what they are really buying? In other words, a new, improved Street order?

For sure, there will be more regulation, or at least more lip-service paid to regulation. Meantime, multi-million-dollar bonuses for underperformance and non-performance will be under great scrutiny. And Bernie Madoff's 150-year prison sentence is a warning that crime will be met by maximum punishment.

But all the king's horses and all the king's men will not be able to put together a new culture on the Street. It seems to me that it's basically impossible -- against human nature, if you will -- to regulate human nature. And nowhere is human nature on bigger display than the arena of handling other people's money.

The new era of oversight, regulation and introspection on the Street will last about 15 minutes. As one top money manager noted,

n a lot will be learned in a short time, something will be learned in the medium term and nothing will be learned in the long run.

I, too, am most skeptical, cynical, even, that a deeply ingrained financial/investment culture can change radically. For one thing, most of the people running the industry don't really believe many things need to be changed, that self-regulation, professional discipline and the innate goodness of human beings will usually win out.

Meantime, they say, the system -- apart from the Bernie Madoffs and the recent excesses of housing and credit bubbles -- usually works OK. And if you want radical change, what will replace the Street's way of doing things, time-dishonoured as it is?

The investing public, seeing their retirement savings accounts hammered for the second time in a decade, are looking for revenge. Better they should be looking at themselves, at their own real self-interest and at their capacity for risk.

Oh, and they will have to trust someone or some institution while being their own best friend in their financial affairs.
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Re: the violence of white collar crime

Postby admin » Wed Apr 22, 2009 9:51 pm


Posted on Apr 22, 2009
Freddie Mac, after receiving billions in loans from the government, is still being flooded with loan defaults by homeowners.

The acting chief financial officer for housing lender Freddie Mac, David Kellermann, was found dead Wednesday morning in what appeared to be a suicide. If the death is ruled a suicide, Kellermann will be the seventh high-profile financial services executive to have taken his own life under stress from the current economic crisis.
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Re: the violence of white collar crime

Postby admin » Wed Apr 22, 2009 10:30 am

April 23, 2009

Executive at Freddie Mac Is Found Dead

David B. Kellermann

David B. Kellermann, the acting chief financial officer of the troubled mortgage giant Freddie Mac, was found dead Wednesday morning at his home in Northern Virginia, the police said.
The executive apparently committed suicide by hanging himself, according to people with knowledge of the investigation.

A spokeswoman for the Fairfax County police said there were no signs of foul play. A police spokesman said that they would not comment on whether a note was found, but did say that no files or anything except the body have been removed from the house.

Police were called to the home at 4:48 a.m., reportedly by Mr. Kellermann’s family. His body was taken away by the Fairfax Coroner’s Office shortly before 9 a.m. By then, the large home about 20 minutes outside Washington was surrounded by eight television trucks and about two dozen reporters. When a neighbor in a car inquired what had happened, and was told of Mr. Kellermann’s death, she began screaming and drove away.

Doug Mills/The New York Times

Police on Wednesday outside the Vienna, Va., home where David B. Kellermann, the acting chief financial officer of Freddie Mac, was found dead.

Mr. Kellermann, 41, had been Freddie Mac’s chief financial officer since September. He was named to the position when the federal government seized the company and ousted its top executives last fall. In recent weeks, according to neighbors and company officials, Mr. Kellermann had received a bonus of about $800,000. Such bonuses — which totaled $210 million for executives at Freddie Mac and its sibling company Fannie Mae — caused some controversy earlier this month, and some lawmakers called for them to be rescinded.

According to neighbors, Mr. Kellermann hired a private security firm after reporters came to his house to ask about his bonus. The Associated Press reported that Mr. Kellermann and his wife had a daughter.

Mr. Kellermann was also involved in recent tense conversations with the company’s federal regulator over its public disclosures. Freddie Mac executives wanted to emphasize to investors that the company was being run for the benefit of the government, rather than shareholders.

The company’s regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Authority, had reportedly pushed to play down that language. Freddie Mac ultimately reported that it made changes to business practices to help the government that “have increased our expenses or caused us to forgo revenue opportunities."

Mr. Kellermann’s death is the latest blow to the company. The chief executive, David M. Moffett, resigned last month after apparently clashing with the company’s regulator over compensation issues and independence.

In a statement, the interim chief executive of Freddie Mac, John A. Koskinen, said the company was saddened by the news of Mr. Kellermann’s death.

“We extend our deepest condolences to David’s family and loved ones for this terrible personal tragedy,” Mr. Koskinen said, adding that Mr. Kellermann would be “be most remembered for his affability, his personal warmth, his sense of humor and his quick wit.”

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, which together own or back more than half of the home mortgages in the country, have been hobbled by skyrocketing loan defaults and have received about $60 billion in combined federal aid.

Mr. Kellermann had been with Freddie Mac for 16 years, and reported to the chief executive, according to a profile on the company’s Web site. He was responsible for Freddie Mac’s financial reporting, capital oversight, and compliance with federal oversight requirements, and also oversaw the annual budgeting and financial planning.

Before becoming chief financial officer, Mr. Kellermann had served as senior vice president, corporate controller and principal accounting officer. He was a graduate of the University of Michigan and a volunteer board member of the D.C. Coalition for the Homeless.

Regulators with the Securities and Exchange Commission and Department of Justice have been interviewing Freddie Mac officials about possible accounting violations and other topics, the company disclosed in March. It is not known if Mr. Kellermann was one of those interviewed.

The company recently disclosed in a public filing that in September it received a federal grand jury subpoena seeking documents concerning the company’s accounting, disclosure and corporate-governance practices. The investigation is being overseen by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Freddie Mac has said it was "cooperating fully in these matters."
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Re: the violence of white collar crime

Postby admin » Sun Mar 29, 2009 3:11 pm

Case study examples of financial euthanasia.

The loneliness of the long-term adviser

By Jim Pavia
March 29, 2009

As clients continue to freak out and look for "safe" investment solutions, financial advisers and financial planners are struggling with their own stresses.
Many carry a burden of guilt for not finding ways to protect clients from huge investment losses. Meanwhile, others worry about their personal portfolios and declining business revenue.

By any measure, the stress of the financial fiasco is taking its toll.

A few weeks before Christmas, I received a call from a financial adviser who is a loyal reader of InvestmentNews. He occasionally calls me to casually share his opinions and ideas for possible story development.

This particular call was anything but casual.

He told me that he knew of at least four financial advisers in the New York/New Jersey area who had committed suicide since October because of the financial meltdown and its effect on their clients.

His fear was that adviser suicides would increase if financial markets got worse.

Those fears are becoming real.

Recently, InvestmentNews reporter Jed Horowitz wrote about adviser stress as a result of the market meltdown.

Jed told the story of an adviser who became overcome with grief as he watched his clients' portfolios evaporate. In a poignant sign of the depths of advisers' concern for their clients, the guilt-ridden financial adviser committed suicide.

The adviser's suicide note, which was obtained by InvestmentNews, stated in part:

"Since you are reading this, I have just taken my life. It was necessary because the alternatives were totally unpalatable ... Some of the investment recommendations that I chose did not work out the way I had anticipated. I regret that very much ... I relied on my firm's due diligence and the assertions of the firm that I was putting clients in a conservative, income-producing strategy.

"I looked at all the data provided and decided that this was suitable for my clients. As it turns out, we have had unprecedented financial turmoil in our markets. We should have found ways to survive this turmoil. Unfortunately, I cannot survive this financially or otherwise."

Since that story was published, I have received letters and e-mails from readers telling me of other adviser suicides.

One adviser wrote:

"I personally know of four financial advisers who have taken their lives in the past four months — all wonderful people and experienced advisers who not only suffer from the loss of their client's assets, but in several cases, they have also lost much of their personal savings through the devastation of their company stock ... Statistically, if I know of four, there must be hundreds."

Needless to say, these developments are disturbing.

In these tumultuous financial times, advisers and planners are under so much pressure that many have concentrated on their clients to the exclusion of themselves.

Advisers shouldn't bear the burden alone.

Find someone in whom you can confide, and share your concerns and worries.

Even when there are no easy answers, not having to struggle on your own can be a relief.

Jim Pavia is the editor of InvestmentNews.
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