A Port Williams, N.S., man has been sentenced to four years in prison after he pleaded guilty last year to defrauding about $8.5 million from the Royal Bank of Canada. 

Gregory Paul Burden was sentenced on Tuesday in Kentville provincial court. Judge Claudine MacDonald also ordered Burden to pay $3 million in restitution to RBC, as well as $409,900 to four individuals who had made investment decisions based on Burden's forged financial reports. 

"To my knowledge, this is the largest fraud amount in any reported decision in Nova Scotia," Crown attorney Mark Heerema said in an interview Wednesday. 

Burden, 66, was charged in 2013 following a 16-month investigation by RCMP.

RBC loaned money based on fraudulent reports

Through Burden's Kentville-based financial services company, Advanced Commission Company of Canada (ACC), fraudulent financial papers, including auditor and engagement reports, were filed. 

Burden was loaned money by RBC based on a percentage of his company's accounts receivable.

"The more that this company looked to be worth on paper, the more the Royal Bank of Canada was willing to lend ACC," Heerema said. 

"What marks this case somewhat apart from other large-scale frauds, which is why the sentence may not have been higher, most of the fraudulent funds were used by Mr. Burden to put back into the ACC, which was a real business with real employees." 

Burden, who has no previous criminal record, forged the papers between September 2007 and April 2012, according to court documents. 

Heerema said the Crown asked for a three- to five-year sentence. Burden pleaded guilty in April 2015 to three counts of fraud over $5,000. The maximum sentence for fraud is 14 years.

Four years was an appropriate sentence in this case, Heerema said. 

"It's not a case where he took the millions of dollars to buy houses and numerous vehicles," Heerema said. "The fraudulent funds were primarily used to stimulate and grow a business that was legitimate."