Victims upset but ‘not surprised’ as scammer Jim Pellerin appeals

Hours after Pellerin was sentenced to prison and ordered to pay restitution, he was released on bail pending an appeal.

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Victims of convicted fraudster Jim Pellerin were left with a bittersweet legal victory last week after Pellerin was sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay half a million dollars in restitution. Hours later he was released on bail pending an appeal.

Pellerin, 68, a prominent local real estate investor and consultant who is the author of several books on the subject, was found guilty of 27 counts of fraud after a judge ruled that he intentionally misled his lenders in a scheme that was “motivated by greed.”

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In handing down a three-year prison sentence last Thursday, Superior Court Judge Robert J. Smith said Pellerin “harmed, deceived and deceived” his 17 lenders by providing them with misleading and false information about an investment in a home in Carleton Place.

Pellerin denied intending to defraud his lenders, many of whom considered Pellerin a friend, and his defense attorney, Bruce Engel, argued that the investment was simply a real estate deal gone bad.

Pellerin hired appeals specialist Howard Krongold and was released on bail Thursday, the same day he was due to begin serving his sentence.

“The Court of Appeal has freed Mr. Pellerin because there are arguable legal errors in his conviction,” Krongold said in a statement. “Mr. Pellerin has vigorously defended himself throughout this process and will continue to fight these charges in the Court of Appeals.”

Pellerin was granted bail and released with the consent of the Ottawa Crown Prosecution Service. The bail hearing was resolved in writing without a court appearance.

Pellerin had been ordered to return $572,000 to his investors, interest-free, within five years of completing his sentence.

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A dozen lenders who were defrauded by Pellerin filed victim impact statements in March and told the judge they had to delay their retirements and work another four or five years to rebuild their finances.

It’s already been a long road to restitution for Greg Walker, the lead investor in Pellerin’s failed townhouse project, who still hasn’t seen any of the $150,000 he lost on his investment with Pellerin seven years ago.

“He never admitted he was guilty and put the Crown through a weeks-long trial, with victims reliving the trauma by witnessing and writing victim impact statements, only to be found guilty of (27) counts of fraud “Walker said. saying.

“He never spoke to ask for forgiveness… he had two opportunities to do so: just before he was found guilty and just before the sentence was handed down. “He never paid a cent in restitution during the seven years this has been going on (and) avoided all contact with the victims after screwing them over.”

Pellerin cashed in on individual investments of $30,000 in 2016 and 2017 and oversold a 12-unit townhouse development, issuing 17 promissory notes and telling his investors that their money would be secured in a specific townhouse unit.

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He assigned the same home unit as collateral to multiple lenders, Judge Smith ruled, and used the balance of the loans (more than $300,000) for his personal use, including a personal trainer, car lease payments and general expenses of his other business. and paying himself a salary of $150,000.

He was charged with fraud in December 2020. He was found guilty on February 7.

Walker and other victims were irritated when Pellerin “immediately appealed and posted bail” after his sentencing hearing last Thursday.

“He is now free,” Walker said, and the appeal process is expected to drag on for many months.

“If he loses his appeal and goes to prison, he can apply for early release after serving a third of his sentence, so he could be released in a year. After that, he has five years to repay the victims. He has not paid any restitution in the last seven years…”

Walker said the ruling means he will likely have to wait more than 15 years from the time he was defrauded in 2017 to the date the court ordered Pellerin to pay him back the money.

Colin Leech and Mary Jane Kelleher said they were satisfied with the sentence and restitution order, along with the judge’s order banning Pellerin from working in the financial sector for five years after serving his sentence.

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“We are not surprised that Mr. Pellerin is appealing,” Leech and Kelleher said in a statement.

“I think the judge laid out the reasons for his decisions very clearly and that those decisions will survive any appeal. However, the appeals process will take time and some victims will remain traumatized as the process drags on. Even without an appeal, this case will be on our minds for at least another eight years before restitution is completed, more than twice as long as this matter had been hanging over us since Mr. Pellerin defrauded us.”

Krongold said Pellerin’s appeal challenges his conviction “for now” and his attorney has not yet decided whether to file an appeal of his sentence.

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