The multimillion-dollar mortgage scheme perpetrated by a Calgary senior should lead to up to 12 years in prison, a prosecutor said Wednesday.
And one victim of Arnold Breitkreutz told the court that he hopes Judge Colin Feasby’s sentence will make him suffer as much as those he attacked.
“He needs to suffer in prison as we have been suffering in financial prison,” said William Janman, reading a victim impact statement at the Breitkreutz sentencing hearing.
But Breitkreutz’s attorney, Cale Ellis-Toddington, said his client’s advanced age should be considered a mitigating factor for Feasby to consider when determining an appropriate sentence.
Ellis-Toddington said a 10- to 12-year prison sentence like the one sought by Crown Prosecutor Shelley Smith would be much more crushing for the 74-year-old Breitkreutz than for a 40-year-old man.
“There is no life left to live,” Ellis-Toddington said, about where her client would be after serving such a “harsh” term.
“There’s nothing left for him, essentially, and for that reason, it would be too hard for him.”
Feasby said he wasn’t entirely convinced that should be considered a factor in the offender’s favor.
“I’m not too convinced that he’s 74 and that’s a reason to be nicer to him,” the Queen’s Court judge said.
He said that a 40-year-old would lose more quality years of their life.
“Mr. Breitkreutz … has been able to enjoy the best years of his life,” Feasby said.
Feasby convicted Breitkreutz of fraud in June in connection with a Ponzi scheme it perpetrated against dozens of investors in its Base Finance Ltd business.
Feasby, in a lengthy decision, found that Breitkreutz intentionally misled investors into believing they were putting their money into sure investments secured by first mortgages when in fact he diverted the cash to risky and lately it has failed offers
The Queen’s Bench Court took note of the charges against Breitkreutz of fraud and the robbery were narrowed down to the time span of May 1, 2014 to September 30, 2015, but their offender behavior occurred over a longer period.
“The narrow temporal scope of the charges and the limited number of witnesses and documents presented in court during the trial mean that these reasons do not, indeed cannot, tell the whole story of the failure of Base Finance and Mr. Breitkreutz’s fraud,Feasby said.
“While the total investor losses in Base Finance it is said that it is more than $100 million, this estimate cannot be verified because the estimate includes losses on investments made before May 1, 2014,” he said.
“Investeither losses of investing activity in the relevant period is less than $100 million, but still substantial.“
Before Feasby was adjourned until Friday for his sentencing decision, Breitkreutz addressed the court.
“To the victims, my investors, I can feel your loss and for that I am incredibly and (indescribably) sorry,” he said, his voice trembling.
“That was not my intention when I accepted your money.”
On Twitter: @KMartinCourts