by Harvey Oberfeld on Wednesday Mar 10 2010
Think about it. If you could walk away with more than $32 million and only have to spend 36 months of your life in a federal prison (maybe even minimum security farm), would you do it? That’s almost a take of a million dollars a month … former investment adviser and convicted multiple fraudster Ian Thow has been alleged to have done pretty close to that
Thow pleaded guilty Monday to 20 counts of fraud, involving $8 Million bilked from trusting clients. But news reports have alleged he owed about $32 million to clients when he fled to the U.S. in 2005. He was captured in 2009.
Thow caused almost immeasurable suffering to his clients … many of them elderly, who have reportedly suffered wrecked lives, health problems and terrible anxiety over ruined retirement plans … as a result of Thow’s thievery.
Instead of investing their funds as they expected, Thow lived the high life for many years in a Victoria waterfront mansion, driving luxury vehicles and 0wning a private jet.
Thursday, Thow was sentenced to nine years in prison for his crimes. Does that seem like justice to you? Not to me. Whether his illegal take was $8 million or $32 million.
Because even with a sentence of nine years, Canada’s ludicrous ”injustice” system kicks in to make sure the convicted criminal isn’t inconvenienced anywhere near his actual sentence time.
First, Thow will receive two years credit for the one year he spent in a remand center awaiting disposition of his case. Then with time off for “good behaviour” while incarcerated, and the fact that his crime was “white collar”, not violent, he apparently could be out on full parole in another 24 months.
So that’s a total of 36 months behind bars … for a minimum $8 million take ..and reportedly maybe even four times that in actuality during his “career”.
And in B.C. they call this justice.
But wait, it’s even worse than that!
These calculations are based on the total nine year sentence provincial court Judge Jocelyn Palmer handed Thow.
Get this ..both the CROWN and the Defence counsel had jointly asked FOR LESS!!!
They had recomended a seven year total sentence … which I read could have resulted in Thow getting out on parole in just 14 months! What a farce!
As I have written here before… BC’s injustice system profits the lawyers, the courts, the judges and the criminals. The ones who really pay the price for crime … financially, emotionally, and even in terms of their health … are the victims.
And I don’t say this as some angry redneck who wants to “hang ‘em high”, but as someone who has watched and reported on our ”injustice system” for decades, and actually won a Webster Award for a five part series I did entitled “Contempt for Court”.
It has been five years since that series appeared on Global Tv … and it’s my own view that the system coddles and “rewards” criminals even more than it did then and respects the victims of crime even less now than it did then.
In B.C. crime does pay.
If you are bright, cunning, lack moral or ethical fibre and willing to commit fraud, run a scam against seniors and spend a couple of years in a federal institution, taking courses, reading, watching t.v., and working out … you could live a very rich life for quite a while before getting caught.
And if you’re really smart …find a way to hide much of your loot, so you can continue to enjoy yourself after you get out .. . after, in a relatively few months, paying your “debt” to society.
And who knows, you might even get away with it … or off on a technicality.
Reprinted by permission of Harv Oberfeld. This article first appeared on Mr. Oberfeld's blog, Keeping it Real.