The Canadian Press
Disgraced financial adviser Earl Jones received an 11-year sentence for orchestrating a massive fraud scheme Monday, and the judgment was even more severe from the people who used to love him.
“He can rot in hell,” said Bevan Jones, who came to the courthouse to watch his sibling get sent away.
Earl Jones, 67, sat in the prisoner’s dock with his head buried in his hands as the judge read his sentence. He pleaded guilty last month to running a pyramid scheme that lasted more than 20 years.
His criminal proceedings heard that he never invested a penny of the money he collected from his former clients.
The $50-million scam cost many people their entire life savings and none of the money has been recovered.
“The accused not only robbed the victims of their money, he robbed them of their freedom and self-esteem and of a decent life they expected in their retirement,” Judge Helene Morin said in her verdict.
“All of them trusted him. For many, this word has no meaning anymore. He is responsible for irrevocable changes in all the victims’ lives and this has left them all humiliated.”
Both the Crown and defence had suggested an 11-year sentence after Jones pleaded guilty two counts of fraud involving more than 158 former clients.
Some of his victims appeared outside the courthouse while Jones received his sentence.
Some of them included Jones’ own relatives, who are no longer speaking to him.
“None of us will ever be the same,” said Bevan Jones who, along with his wife Frances Gordon, was fleeced out of $1 million.
Speaking to reporters before the sentence was handed down, Bevan said he had no interest in speaking to his brother and would never forgive him for what he’d done.
So many of Jones’ victims and their loved ones were in attendance Monday that courthouse officials needed a second room for the overflow crowd.
Some arrived by school bus from the suburban West Island, where Jones was once a popular member of the community.
Both Jones and his financial-services company have been declared bankrupt. He’s been shunned not only by his friends and relatives, but his wife Maxine has also filed for divorce.
Jones once lived in the lap of luxury, with several high-end homes in trendy locales. He was a pillar of the community, active in the church, local charities and amateur sports.
But in the months leading up to his guilty plea, he lived anonymously in a suburban rooming house and was penniless apart from a government pension.
None of the clients’ money has ever been recovered.
The provincial police and a bankruptcy trustee spent months going over the books and were able to agree on a conservative estimate of about $51.3 million taken between 1982 and 2009.
But it’s unclear just how many people were impacted over the decades.
The victims announced earlier this month that they will seek the right to sue a branch of the Royal Bank of Canada for allegedly allowing Jones to carry out his crimes, by turning a blind eye to his dubious accounting and business practices.
None of the claims against the Royal Bank have been proven in court and a judge must still authorize the request for the suit.
The Canadian Press