Con artists who orchestrated Canada's largest Ponzi scam spend only 2 of 12 years in prison
More than 2,400 investors from around the world lost between $100 million and $400 million
After orchestrating the largest Ponzi scheme in Canadian history, Milowe Brost and Gary Sorenson are out of prison after serving just over two years of their 12-year sentences, according to parole documents obtained by CBC News.
More than 2,400 investors from around the world lost somewhere between $100 million and $400 million in the scam.
Because their nine-year crimes began in 1999, before changes to Canadian legislation, Brost and Sorenson were able to apply for parole after serving one-sixth of their sentences. Offenders are now required to serve at least one-third.
"The work on this case didn't end in court," said Brost's lawyer, Shamsher Kothari, who along with co-counsel Cory Wilson, successfully lobbied the Parole Board for the earlier parole eligibility.
"We are pleased that our client is at liberty and abiding by the requirements of Corrections Canada."
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The two men were found guilty in February 2015 of fraud over $5,000. Brost faced an additional conviction of money laundering.
They were taken into custody after their conviction and given a day and a half credit for each day they'd served between February and their sentencing in July 2015.
"You continue to maintain your innocence," noted the Parole Board in its written decision to release Brost on day parole.
A spokesperson for the board confirmed Sorenson was also granted parole after serving one-sixth of his sentence.
During their sentencing hearing in 2015, lawyers for the two men asked for an eight- to 10-year sentence and argued their clients were likely to die in jail.
The board did note the severe consequences suffered by Brost and Sorenson's victims.
"They speak of ruined lives, loss of home, loss of family and community," wrote board member G. Leblanc in his decision.
"Victims experienced separation and divorce from a spouse, were in hospital for treatment of extreme mental distress and physical illnesses, and endured a sense of hopelessness for any happiness in their old age."
Victims' suffering will be 'long lasting'
At an earlier hearing, Correctional Service Canada recommended Brost's accelerated release, which the board ultimately agreed with.
"You have numerous positive supports in the community, your reintegration potential is assessed as high, your motivation as medium and your level of accountability as low," reads the decision, which also noted Brost was unlikely to reoffend.
Conditions were attached to Brost's release; he must provide financial disclosure to his parole officer and is not allowed to be in a position of financial authority.
Brost must also avoid associating with criminals and has to stay away from his victims, whose lives continue to be affected by the financial fraud.
"Instead of retirement being a time of freedom and rest, many were forced to return to the workforce in their old age as they were financially in heightened distress," wrote Leblanc.
"The suffering of the victims continues and will be long-lasting."
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With files from Bryan Labby