Cole Harbour, N.S., woman gets 2-year prison sentence for $260K fraud
'This was not an impulsive act, but a planned and devious one,' judge says
A former Halifax-area property manager has been sentenced to two years in federal prison on a breach of trust charge.
Iris Doreen Procenko, 53, of Cole Harbour was sentenced Thursday afternoon in Nova Scotia Supreme Court.
She faced 15 charges related to defrauding property owners and condo corporations of hundreds of thousands of dollars between 2013 and 2016.
Procenko pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count of breach of trust involving $262,823. The other fraud charges were dropped Thursday.
Crown attorney Roland Levesque emphasized that amount is what the Crown is able to prove was taken — and the actual amount may be higher.
According to an agreed statement of facts, Halifax police and a forensic accountant found that Procenko had been taking money from condo reserves or contingency funds as well as from rental property income. She diverted those funds to a payroll company that was paying employees of her own companies, Maritime Property Management and Secure Property Management.
In his decision from the bench, Justice Jamie Campbell said Procenko had three years from the time she began taking the funds to reflect on how her actions would affect her victims, but that she did not stop until she was caught.
"This was not a spur-of-the-moment, lapse of judgment on her part," Campbell said. "This was not an impulsive act, but a planned and devious one."
Campbell agreed with a joint sentencing recommendation from Crown and defence and gave Procenko two years in a federal penitentiary.
He also ordered her to pay restitution in five of the incidents. Other victims received small claims court judgments or are not seeking restitution.
Alfie Seaman, Procenko's lawyer, told the court that Procenko had been trying to bail out a failing business and that her actions "snowballed".
'Embarrassed and remorseful'
"Ms. Procenko always believed that she could fix things. That just never happened," he said, noting that Procenko has since lost her house and her car.
"This has hit her extremely hard. She's extremely embarrassed and remorseful for what she did."
Lloyd Gesner of Halifax owned one property and lost about $7,000 to Procenko. He has been able to recover some of that money through small claims court, but says the effect on his family, his health, his trust in people and his own self-esteem has been a far greater loss.
"I couldn't protect my family from this person. I couldn't stop her from affecting other people. It was not good. It drove my sugars up — I'm diabetic. It cost me a lot of sleep," he said. "It wasn't very equanimous."
Gesner said he is delighted that his three-year battle is over although he said he thought a three- or four-year sentence might be more appropriate.