Former mortgage broker is remorseless liar, says judge sentencing him to 4½ years in multimillion-dollar fraud
Brandon Antonini and disbarred lawyer Floyd Campbell tricked investors in bogus mortgage financing scheme
A provincial court judge who described Brandon Antonini as a liar and "totally unbelievable" sentenced the former Calgary mortgage broker Thursday to 4½ years in prison — matching the high end of the sentence requested by the Crown prosecutor.
Antonini, 46, was found guilty of 23 counts of theft and fraud after a trial in Calgary last year. Ten counts of theft were officially stayed at the sentencing in Calgary Thursday morning.
The convictions involved five investors who lost $2.4 million in a bogus bridge financing scheme. The victims were duped into providing money for mortgages that didn't exist.
"I was very happy about the outcome," said Stuart Hay, who lost several hundred thousand dollars in the scheme.
"It's been a long haul, now it's finally over with," he said.
Hay said he regrets not being in the courtroom to see Antonini handcuffed and taken into custody.
There was no indication of motive other than greed.- Judge Gordon Wong
Judge Gordon Wong said the fraudulent scheme put together by Antonini was significant, planned and deliberate.
"There was no indication of motive other than greed," said Wong.
The judge said there were no mitigating factors in the case.
Antonini has shown no remorse
He said Antonini committed the frauds over a six-month period in 2012, abused his position of trust with his mortgage brokerage clients, and has shown no remorse.
Antonini was ordered to pay back $318,000 to Hay.
"I'm very happy about the restitution order. It's hanging over his head, and one day I'll be able to swoop in and collect it," said Hay.
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Wearing a black suit and tie in court Thursday morning, he showed no emotion when the sentence was read.
Disbarred lawyer Floyd Campbell got probation
Antonini and disbarred Calgary lawyer Floyd Campbell were charged in June 2015 for their roles in a scheme in which they asked investors to provide bridge financing for homeowners who had no idea their properties were being used in the scam.
It's believed the money was funnelled into Antonini and Campbell's fledgling resort development in Huatulco, Mexico.
Campbell — who was disbarred by the Law Society of Alberta — pleaded guilty to one count of theft involving $225,000. He was put on probation for two years and was to serve the sentence at his rural property in Manitoba.
Campbell admitted to the law society that he misappropriated $3.5 million from his clients.
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Antonini, who was a licensed mortgage broker at the time of the offences, claimed he had no knowledge the deals were fraudulent. He said false documents presented to potential private lenders were prepared by Campbell.
A pre-sentence report states Antonini shows little remorse for his involvement in the theft and fraud.
"Of his own accord he [Antonini] expressed little remorse for the victims of the offences, other than to acknowledge that there had been a mishandling of their trust. He [Antonini] also mentioned that the victims had been paid back by the Law Society of Alberta, which appeared to be an attempt on his part to minimize the impact to the victims," said the probation officer.
The report stated Antonini's claim that the money had been paid back was not confirmed.
"It was an act of dishonesty that cannot be explained away," said Wong in delivering his judgment last July.
He said Antonini "spun a series of lies to mask his complicity."
Antonini withdrew his mortgage broker licence and was subject to a voluntary lifetime prohibition.
Through his lawyer, Antonini requested that he be allowed to serve his prison sentence at Bowden Institution. The judge said he would make that recommendation.
Bryan Labby is an enterprise reporter with CBC Calgary. If you have a good story idea or tip, you can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter at @CBCBryan.