Ottawa

Former financial adviser sentenced to 7 years for defrauding clients

Former Ottawa financial adviser Jacques Scribnock has been sentenced to seven years in prison for defrauding 19 investors, many of them close friends, of $2.8 million.

'The man is a snake in a suit, a predator. He stole the future of so many people'

(Supplied)

A former Ottawa financial adviser has been sentenced to seven years in prison for defrauding 19 investors, many of them close friends, of $2.8 million. 

Justice Robert Maranger said Jacques Scribnock's "selfish greed" caused him to concoct an elaborate scheme of "shell companies" under the names Magna Securities and Stone Securities to defraud close friends — even family members — of their life savings.

The frauds took place over a four-year period, starting in 2008.

The hardest thing was not just the money, but the betrayal.- Richard Meehan, fraud victim

Richard Meehan was one of more than a dozen former clients who came to court for the sentencing.

Meehan was Scribnock's personal trainer before becoming a friend and client.

"The hardest thing was not just the money but the betrayal after knowing this person, this fraudster, for over 15 years. That's what hurts the most," Meehan said.

Stolen money paid for lavish lifestyle

The judge said Scribnock used money to maintain a lavish lifestyle for himself, his wife and children, including buying a $1.5-million penthouse condominium in Mississauga.
Richard Meehan was Scribnock's personal trainer and friend before the financial adviser defrauded him of $40 thousand. (Steve Fischer/CBC)

Scribnock was arrested in 2013, about six months after Ottawa police started receiving complaints from investors, and launched an investigation.

Many of the investors had been close personal friends of Scribnock, who had also referred their friends and family members to him.

Susan Brownrigg says she, her elderly parents, as well as several siblings invested their money with Scribnock and lost it all.

"The man is a snake in a suit, a predator. He stole the future of so many people. Our family has been damaged irreparably," Brownrigg said, outside court.

The man is a snake, and a predator.-Susan Brownrigg, fraud victim
Her sister-in-law Linda Brownrigg said the fraud Scribnock committed against their elderly parents was especially damaging.
Susan and Linda Brownrigg came to court for the sentencing of Jacques Scribnock. (Steve Fischer/CBC)

"The guy took those cheques and put them in his own private bank account. He forged her signature on documents. How do you bounce back when you are 83, 84 [years old]? You know you are frail, you believe in people, you trust people and he charmed people, he really did, including us by the way," Linda Brownrigg said.

Scribnock even defrauded his cousin, Diane McMartin. Her advice to other investors is not use a friend or family member as a financial planner.

"But I would encourage people to go with investors that are in a good, big company … not a small person who is trying to make it for himself.

The judge also ordered Scribnock to pay restitution to the victims, although many of them believe they'll never get their money back.

Scribnock was given 15 months credit for time served in pre-trial custody, which means he will have to serve another five years and seven months before becoming eligible for full parole.
Diane McMartin is a cousin of Jacques Scribnock. She too was defrauded of thousands of dollars by the former financial advisor. (Steve Fiscehr/CBC)

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