A former Moncton investment dealer who bilked about $1 million from elderly clients in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island has been sentenced to 42 months in prison.
Darlene Catherine Ford, who worked with ScotiaMcLeod in Moncton from 1999 until 2010, had previously pleaded guilty to six counts of fraud over $5,000.
She sat quietly as she was sentenced on Monday morning to seven months for each of the charges, to be served consecutively.
Judge Pierre Dubé said he would give her credit for time served in Canada, but would not count the time she was in custody in the U.S., waiting to be brought back to Canada.
As a result, Ford, 48, who used to go by her married name, Ryan, will serve a total of 36 months.
Breached trust of seniors
The judge called it a very serious crime and said it was a breach of trust of elderly people who worked hard all their lives to accumulate money so they could retire comfortably.
The Crown had been seeking a sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine, while the defence had recommended a sentence of three years, minus time Ford had already served on remand.
Ford was asked to leave ScotiaMcLeod in 2010 for irregularities in her own account.
The company then looked into her clients' accounts and discovered $1.3 million was missing.
Ford was making unauthorized withdrawals from six of her clients' accounts, forging signatures and shuffling money from one account to another, the provincial courtroom heard.
She was arrested in the United States in May and was deported back to Canada in September.
Ford had also been registered as an investment dealer in Prince Edward Island, Ontario and Alberta, but was permanently barred in June after being found guilty of fraud by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada, which regulates investment dealers in Canada.
She was also fined $1 million by the IIROC and ordered to pay $7,500 in costs.