(February 15 – 16:50 ET) – Einar Sellander Bjellebo of Toronto, also known as Einar Bellfield, and Osvaldo Minchella of Newmarket, promoters for Overseas Credit and Guaranty Corporation were sentenced to jail today, the Canadian Customs and Revenue Agencuy is reporting. The two men were found guilty by a jury of tax fraud in December. Bellfield was sentenced to 10 years in jail and fined $1 million. Minchella was sentenced to 7 years in jail.
Bellfield and Minchella were both found guilty on two charges under the Criminal Code for defrauding the public of tax revenues, making false claims in the amount of $118 million for the taxation years 1984 to 1991, and defrauding investors of $22 million in 36 limited partnerships. They were also convicted on two charges for producing false documents for the taxation years 1984 to 1991 to Revenue Canada (now the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency) and to their investors.
Overseas Credit and Guaranty Corporation marketed and sold units in limited partnerships to 613 investors by promoting immediate tax relief for each investor. All investors were to acquire part ownership in 80 foot yachts and receive charter revenues from their investments. In reality, only two yachts were ever built.
In 1985, Mr. Bellfield set up two Swiss shell companies Neptune and Starlight. Both companies purported to supply services and financing for the operations of Overseas Credit and Guaranty Corporation. In reality, these two corporations provided OverseasCredit and Guaranty Corporation with false invoices, loan account statements, and other documentation.
Through the cooperation of the Ministry of the Attorney General, the Department of Justice and the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, in order to accommodate the 114,000 documents containing 542,000 pages for the court, an electronic courtroom was set up for the court case. This is the first time an electronic courtroom was used for a jury trial in Canada and remains in operation for other cases.