Edmonton

Edmonton businessman sentenced to 7 years in prison for fraud

An Edmonton businessman has been sentenced to seven years in prison on 33 counts of fraud. Vimal Iyer's scam involved promoting and selling interests in three land developments northeast of Edmonton through his company, Trident Properties.

Crown prosecutor says he's pleased with the sentence

Property developer Vimal Iyer was convicted of 33 counts of fraud over $5,000 on Aug. 10, 2016. (Twitter)

An Edmonton businessman convicted of fraud has been sentenced to seven years in prison and ordered to pay more than $2 million in restitution to his victims.

Vimal Iyer was found guilty in August of 33 counts of fraud for a scam that involved promoting and selling interests in three land developments northeast of Edmonton through his company, Trident Properties. 

The Crown argued that Iyer induced people to invest money but never told them there was "significant unlikelihood that the land would or could be rezoned, developed or serviced in the foreseeable future."

The judge's written decision also noted that evidence established Iyer bought a family residence in his wife's name, bought expensive vehicles and travelled in an extravagant lifestyle. All of those purchases were paid for with money given to Trident by the investors.

Justice Andrea Moen noted that Iyer showed no remorse, steadfastly maintained his innocence and never tried to pay restitution.

Iyer declined the opportunity to make a statement to the court.

'This is a significant penitentiary sentence'

Crown prosecutor Damian Rogers argued for a sentence of eight to 10  years.

"We certainly argued for a significant penitentiary sentence and this is a significant penitentiary sentence," Rogers said outside the courtroom. "So we're pleased that the court recognized the impact that this had on our victims."

Iyer has been ordered to pay more than $2 million in restitution to his victims, many of whom were in court to see him led away by Alberta sheriffs.

Judith Roque was in court Friday for the sentencing. She told CBC her family lost $250,000 to $300,000 in the scam.

"I was hoping for a little more lengthy sentence, to tell you the truth," she said. "But seven years is pretty lengthy too. As far as the restitution though, we're just hoping to get some money back at least."

'We suffered greatly'

In addition to the financial loss, Roque said her family's reputation has been damaged.

"We suffered greatly, and I really pray to god that no one will ever have to go through this ordeal."

Roque was just one of several people who provided victim impact statements.

"Many of the victims used retirement savings, they mortgaged their houses," Rogers said. "This was money that for many of our victims, they couldn't afford to lose, and they have lost. So the impact was what we would expect in those circumstances."