When Mike decided to build luxury condos in Victoria, he asked Mark to be on site a few days a week. Mark didn’t like the idea at first. He liked being in Vancouver where he had friends, and the city had a lot to offer. In contrast, Victoria is a much smaller city where a lot of retired seniors live and he didn’t think it was the right place for him. Anyway, after giving it some thought, he realized he could make a lot of money by spending a few days a week in Victoria.
When he arrived there, he was determined to explore the city and the surrounding area to learn what the city had to offer. His head started to work overtime once he found out Victoria had an exclusive club for singles only. Mark was a very likable person and he had a very good rapport with others. He made friends easily wherever he went and also gained the trust of others quickly.
Nevertheless, he created a fake profile before he joined the club. He presented himself as divorced and gave the names of two colleagues at work as references. They gave him glowing references when the club called to verify the information Mark gave them.
His colleagues were in fact working with him to steal money from the company they were working for. They were more than happy to back him up whenever he needed it. The three of them worked together like a well oiled machine. They didn’t care who they hurt along the way, all they were interested in was getting their hands on more money.
When Mark arrived at the club for the first time and saw Mary Anne, he immediately recognized her from the TV and newspapers. She was well known as her story was extensively covered by the media. Everyone knew about her fight against the insurance company that didn’t want to pay her claim when her husband died. Mark knew that Mary Anne sued the insurance company, won big time in court and became a wealthy woman.
He thought to himself that Mary Anne would be easy prey for him, and he was right. She fell in love with him in no time. By the time he met her, he already knew all the condos had already been sold. But this didn’t stop him from selling some of the units a second time.
In order to make this work, one of his accomplices had to pretend to be the owner of the project and the other his executive secretary. The secretary gave Marry Anne a bank account number to make her down payment along with all other payments for the condo. However, the account wasn’t one that belonged to the real estate company. In fact, it was an account set up by Mark and his buddies and the funds deposited there went to them. Mark would then generate a fake receipt which he would give to Mary Anne.
Mary Anne wasn’t the only one who was deceived by Mark. He misled her friend Jackie along with others he met at the club. Mark didn’t think about the consequences of his actions on his family or even about his own future. He lived as though tomorrow didn’t exist.
Anyhow, a receiver was appointed by the court to manage its affairs after the company that built the condos was declared bankrupt. The receiver decided to put the buildings up for sale and they were bought by a Canadian developer.
Once the sale went through the receiver paid the bank, the legal fees, as well as all other fees. Then the other creditors were paid. The last ones on the list were the condo owners, who got peanuts. Those poor people lost a lot of money. Unfortunately, some of them put most of their savings into the condos and were left with practically nothing. People like Mary Anne, Jackie, and others who were directly deceived by Mark, were not listed as creditors. Therefore, they had to personally sue Mark in order to get their investment back.
However, Mark’s family was shocked by his behavior. His children decided to disconnect from him. While his wife decided to stand by him after he persuaded her his actions were due to his addiction to gambling. Basically, he manipulated her the way he always did. He told her he started gambling because he felt lonely as he was far away from his family and she accepted his explanation.
Mark’s lawyer claimed the other two employees were the masterminds behind the crimes and they were the ones who stole most of the money. He maintained they took advantage of his condition and blackmailed him. The court wasn’t impressed by this line of defense. To make a long story short, Mark was sentenced to 15 years in jail and fined $5 million. As the other two were able to return some of the stolen money, they were sentenced to 12 years and fined $2 million each.
Mary Anne and Jackie and the others reached an out of court settlement with Mark’s wife. She generously agreed to pay half of what Mark stole from them. Their lawyers advised them to accept her offer as otherwise, they would have to wait for the legal process to work its way through the courts. And even then it was unlikely they would receive anything close to what Mark’s wife was offering them.
Sadly, when a company goes bankrupt it can frequently drag other companies and individuals down with them like a collapsing house of cards and this is a tragedy…………