Meer guilty of extortion, arson

Jonathan David (Dave) Meer was found guilty Friday of extortion and arson in a wave of violence against former business associates in 2007.

Jonathan David (Dave) Meer was found guilty Friday of extortion and arson in a wave of violence against former business associates in and around Edmonton in 2007.

Meer, 48, showed no reaction in the prisoner's box this morning as the judge read a brief summary of the charges and then delivered his verdicts.

The married father of three is a former millionaire, with money troubles and a string of lawsuits against him.

EPS dectectives Dave Yarmuch (left) and Rob Paton (right) speak outside of court Friday about the challenges of bringing extortionist Dave Meer to trial.
Meer masterminded a wave of violence and intimidation — including arsons, telephone threats, molotov cocktails and paintball gun shootings — against four former business associates, using his son and his son's friends as "foot soldiers" to carry out the acts of violence.

Chris Meer, 26, is still at large. Police believe he may have fled to Mexico or the United States. Dustin Pisesky, 27, pleaded guilty to extortion and arson and has already served his sentence.

Dave Meer was convicted on nine charges - two counts each of arson and extortion, four conspiracy offences and one charge of obstruction of justice.

Meer torched the homes of former business colleague Ron Simpson in Edmonton and Pigeon Lake in 2007. Simpson had loaned Meer more than $1 million and had filed a lawsuit to get that money back.

Jonathan David Meer, in a court sketch, listens to testimony during the trial. ((CBC))
At this trial, Meer testified his son and his son's friend were solely responsible for the crimes.

Meer’s lawyer even suggested Meer's wife Loreena Meer, 45, had just as much motive to do the four business men harm as anybody.

Edmonton police call the case one of the most complex they have ever worked on.

Outside court, Det. Rob Paton said he's satisfied with the outcome of the case and glad Meer's victims have gotten justice.

"We had people's homes that were burned down when they were in them," he said. "We were lucky — really lucky that we weren't involved with a homicide investigation."

Meer will be sentenced in Jan 6, 2011. Those working on the case said the Crown could be looking at a sentence of up to 15 years in prison.