Nova Scotia

'Great acting job': Victims unhappy with fraudster's court apology

A former investment adviser broke down in tears when he apologized in a Halifax court to a Nova Scotia couple he defrauded of almost a quarter of a million dollars.

'It just didn't feel genuine to me,' says Roberta Hancock

John and Roberta Hancock lost their retirement savings to former investment adviser Glenn Francis Dunbar. (Sherri Borden Colley/CBC)

A former investment adviser broke down in tears when he apologized in court to a Nova Scotia couple he defrauded of almost a quarter of a million dollars.

"It is with heartfelt remorse that I say how sorry I am for what I did to your lives," Glenn Francis Dunbar told two of his victims during his sentencing hearing Wednesday at Halifax provincial court.

The victims are Roberta Hancock and her husband, CBC sportscaster John Hancock.

Dunbar told the couple he realizes their trust will never be regained.

"I do not deserve to be trusted by the people I have hurt," he said. "I have been reading a great deal about forgiveness. I know that you'll never forget what has happened, but I do ask that you try to forgive what I did to your lives."

'No sign of remorse'

Outside of court, Roberta Hancock said she didn't think much of the apology.

"What ran through my mind is great acting job and I say that because in the almost five years, there's been no sign of remorse, no reaching out, no apology, nothing, so it's kind of too little, too late," she said.

"It just didn't feel genuine to me."

Dunbar initially faced four counts of fraud, but he pleaded guilty to one count in April.

Dunbar will be sentenced Friday 

Crown attorney Rick Miller asked the judge to send Dunbar to prison for three years, while defence lawyer Trevor McGuigan asked the court to impose an 18-month conditional sentence and to allow Dunbar to serve it in Fort McMurray where he now works.

Judge Gregory Lenehan will sentence Dunbar on Friday.

The Hancocks say they lost close to $1 million to Dunbar, but he only admitted to taking about one-fourth of that.

Glenn Francis Dunbar (wearing yellow shirt) speaks to supporters Wednesday at Halifax provincial court. (Sherri Borden Colley/CBC)

It is not known what Dunbar did with the money he stole.

According to an agreed statement of facts read aloud in court, the Hancocks became Dunbar's clients in 1999. Over 13 years, Dunbar built trust with the couple while he worked for Quadrus Investment Services. Their relationship developed to the point where Dunbar borrowed money from the couple.

When Dunbar advised the Hancocks to invest in overseas investments by writing cheques directly to him, the couple wasn't aware that was unusual, said Miller.

How Dunbar defrauded his victims

"Mr. Dunbar created the illusion that the investments were doing well and earning a return when in fact, the Hancocks were simply being paid back their own money disguised as investment gains while encouraged by Mr. Dunbar to make more investments," he said.

Dunbar convinced the Hancocks to mortgage their home, redeem their RRSPs and invest money from their pension funds.

When the couple received a huge tax bill from the Canada Revenue Agency, they knew something was wrong and went to the police.

The Hancocks reached an out-of-court settlement with Quadrus in 2015.

Dunbar was fined $350,000 by the Nova Scotia Securities Commission and barred from working in the industry. He has not yet paid that fine.

Struggling to pay bills

The Hancocks both read emotional victim impact statements in court.

Roberta Hancock, 64, told the judge before Dunbar defrauded them, they lived comfortably in a Fall River home for 25 years. They lost their home and now rent a small house and struggle to pay their bills.

"I don't sleep well, my health has suffered, I'm not the happy person I used to be nor am I the talkative person I once was," she said.

"I am frightened by how little protection there is from the Glenn Dunbars of this world."

John Hancock, 66, said he should have been able to retire a year ago, but couldn't because of the fraud.

"My mental health suffered because of the guilt I felt for not discovering what Glenn Dunbar was doing to us," he said.

"I blamed myself for a long, long time."

Defence lawyer says Dunbar has 'good character'

Dunbar's lawyer described him as "a person of good character" who is respected, trusted, is devoted to family and friends, and has coached sports teams.

McGuigan also said Dunbar has received treatment for depression and suicidal thoughts.

"He is deeply sorry for what he has done, he understands the harm he has caused you and he is trying to do what he can now, to make this right," said McGuigan.