Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Crime Doesn't Pay

We came across this headline recently posted on BClocalnews.com :  Kamloops fraudster pays $158,000, gets 20 months house arrest
We were delighted when we read the article that described convicting the old log home industry scammer from a way back, Paul Pearson.  The article talks about Pearson setting up fake trade shows and collecting money from exhibitors.  It doesn't mention the log home industry and how we have been effected by this fraudster but he has worked his unethical slight of hand on our industry as well.  Sitka Log Homes caught him in a scam years ago which didn't cost us any money but was extremely unethical never the less.  That was about ten years ago, so we don't really buy the line about him only scamming people after the market went soft.  Oh please! Paul Pearson was scamming people back when the market was hot too!  Here is the article in full:

Kamloops fraudster pays $158,000, gets 20 months house arrest

By Laura Tester
A Kamloops man has received 20 months of house arrest and will pay $158,000 in restitution after scamming booth exhibitors out of thousands of dollars from phony trade shows he set up in Red Deer and Calgary.
Paul Raymond Pearson, 58, pleaded guilty in Red Deer provincial court on Friday, Aug. 27, to one count of fraud over $5,000, 16 counts of fraud under $5,000 and one count of attempted fraud.
Another 67 fraud-related charges were withdrawn, as were fraud-related charges laid against Pearson’s 60-year-old wife, Gloria.
Crown prosecutor Tony Bell said the offences occurred between July 30, 2007, and Feb. 15, 2009, when Pearson began advertising trade shows through the Internet.
He would then contact businesses by email about their potential interest.
Pearson collected money from 18 victims who gave money toward booth space at one of the fake trade shows he had organized, Bell said.
Pearson collected just over $14,500 from the Rig Expo Trade Show in Red Deer that was held for one day in May 2008 and which drew only 22 attendees.
Pearson then received nearly $14,000 from potential exhibitors of the Lift Haul Expo, which was organized for Red Deer in September 2008, but was never held.
The Big Buck Expo, planned for Red Deer in June 2009, saw Pearson take in nearly $728.
Pearson also picked up almost $12,700 from exhibitors who planned to attend a Go Green Expo in Calgary in April 2009, but the exhibition never happened.
“He utilized the proceeds for his purposes,” Bell said.
The Crown and defence asked for a 20-month conditional sentence, to be served at Pearson’s Kamloops house.
Bell said Pearson will only be allowed to leave his house for medical visits and other allowances pre-approved by his supervisor.
A number of other conditions were placed on Pearson, including a prohibition on owning electronic devices.
Pearson has served two-and-a-half months in custody since being arrested by Red Deer RCMP in June.
Bell noted Pearson handed over a cheque of $158,000, money obtained through a trust fund of his.
That money will be distributed among various victims of the trade shows, including those for which charges were withdrawn.
Defence lawyer Lorne Goddard said Pearson had lived with his wife of 30 years on property outside Kamloops, which has since been sold.
Pearson was organizing trade shows and was quite successful at it, but the market became saturated and activity slowed, Goddard said.
“He started using other people’s money to support his family,” Goddard said.
Pearson, a heavy-set man dressed in remand-blue coveralls, expressed remorse for defrauding people of their money.
“I am ashamed for what I have done, not only for my victims, but to my family. I am sorry,” Pearson said while bowing his head and nervously clasping his hands.
Judge John Holmes said he had to take into account the amount of money and number of victims Pearson had defrauded.
Holmes added Pearson was “managing to pay restitution, which often doesn’t happen in these cases.”
The court will be provided a list of victims by the Red Deer RCMP this week.
Anyone wanting information can call primary RCMP investigator Const. Slavica Doktor at 1-403-341-2069.
Doktor said a good portion of the victims were from Red Deer and Calgary, but noted some of those duped are from the United States.
“Three-quarters of what he took in will be paid to his victims, including the Rig Expo people for [which the charges were withdrawn],” said Doktor.