Montreal

Revenu Québec is taking a fraudster to court — for his space collectibles

Sylvain Bélair, 51, is serving a three-year prison sentence for orchestrating a Ponzi scheme which, from 2006 to 2009, caused 46 people to lose $1.45 million.

Sylvain Bélair, 51, is currently serving 3-year prison sentence for orchestrating $1.45 million Ponzi scheme

Sylvain Bélair was the general manager of the Cosmodome in Laval from 2009 until January 2014. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

Revenu Québec is taking the Cosmodome's former general manager, who is currently serving a three-year sentence for fraud, to court — for his valuable collection of rocket models and other space collectibles.

Sylvain Bélair, 51, is in prison for orchestrating a Ponzi scheme involving a real estate project in China which, from 2006 to 2009, caused 46 people to lose $1.45 million.

But that's not all — in 2015, Revenu Québec estimated that Bélair owed the tax agency more than $434,000 for unreported income between 2006 to 2009.

The agency is now asking Superior Court to "order the forced abandonment" of a collection Bélair's valuables, to be sold at auction.

Some of the valuables reflect Bélair's passion for space — included in his collection are:

  • 19 model rockets, including one replica of Apollo 10 and another of Space Shuttle Discovery. 
  • A wooden globe.
  • A Marconi antique radio. 
  • A Celestron telescope.
  • A model of the Apollo II diving suit.
  • A miniature R2D2 model.

It is unclear how much they are worth.

Fine still unpaid

Bélair also has yet to pay a $1.5 million fine, which was imposed by the court in September on top of his three-year sentence. He has two years to pay his debt to the fines collection office.

According to Quebec's financial market authority (AMF), it's common for those convicted to squander money obtained through fraud, leaving them no more assets with which to pay their fines.

"In criminal cases, when we follow up, we [see] a reimbursement rate of 10 to 15 per cent," said AMF spokesperson Sylvain Théberge.

Convicts have options for how to pay it off, including monthly payments over many years, or to pay a portion of their debt with community work.

With files from Radio-Canada's Geneviève Garon