Fraud against inventors | The parties are arguing about a luxury building

A lavish build where con artist Christian Varin devoured $1.3 million stolen from dozens of inventors arouses covetousness. Who benefits? The victims ? The State? Or his lawyer?

Posted at 5:00 am

Tristan Peloquin

Tristan Peloquin
The press

Located at the end of a row from Shefford, in the Eastern Townships, the two storey building was planted with an area of ​​300m⁠2 equipped with an indoor pool, large conference rooms and LEED certification, was completely deserted during the drive through The press last week.

The site has been the subject of negotiations for several weeks between lawyers involved in various criminal and civil cases against the deposed President of the Union of Quebec Inventors, Christian Varin.

The businessman, dubbed a “21st-century charlatan” by the Quebec courte century” and an “impostor who exploits public credulity” awaits punishment after being convicted of fraud for defrauding dozens of inventors whom he falsely led into believing he would patent for them for a payment of 695 receive up to $10,000 for bogus services.

Through a fake NPO, Varin promised to reinvest any profits made from its fake services into this “Inventors Pavilion,” a high-end venue where its customers could test prototypes and share their knowledge.

The building, which Varin originally rented through Airbnb for $1,434 a night, is now considered “proceeds of crime” by the Sûreté du Québec, which has asked that all traces of banking activity related to its construction be preserved. reveals the information received from the police The press.

Varin’s attorney is subject to a restraining order

According to our information, discussions are ongoing between the lawyers involved in the case as to how the proceeds from the possible sale of the building could be redistributed to the victims of the fraud as compensation.

In January, the chief of crime and law enforcement obtained a “criminal proceeds restriction” order barring the sale of the building until further notice.

The freeze order targets, among others, the law firm of the attorney who defended Varin during his criminal trial, Haché and Associates Lawyers Inc. Four months before the guilty verdict, its President, Mr.e Normand Haché registered a $125,000 legal mortgage on the building to guarantee his fees.


PHOTO ROBERT SKINNER, LA PRESSE ARCHIVE

Christian Varin, rear, and Me Normand Haché at the Montreal Courthouse in November 2020

This situation raised questions from the General Counsel of the Barreau du Québec, learned The press. Article 77 of the Code of Ethics for Attorneys, which deals with conflicts of interest in relation to potentially disputed property, specifically prohibits a solicitor from “acquiring an interest in any property which is or may be the subject of litigation relating to a mandate entrusted to him”.

But the situation is complex. Thanks to a rather unusual legal structure, Christian Varin and his Association of Quebec Inventors only temporarily own the building through a 25-year leasehold agreement.

In the end, the entire building is given to her spouse, Sylvain Riendeau, who owns the property. However, Mr. Riendeau was not charged in the criminal proceedings.

Me Haché denies having a conflict of interest, saying the $125,000 statutory mortgage he holds on the building “is limited to the value of the property” owned by Mr. Varin’s wife. He claims that the mortgage guarantee is justified under the circumstances. “How else will I get paid if Mr. Varin goes to jail?” “, he asks.

According to attorney Vincent Langlois, who is representing some of the inventors conned by Mr. Varin, the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DPCP) is preparing to order an immediate cancellation of Mr.e Hacked on the building so that all proceeds from the sale of the building go back to the victims. “It is the prerogative of the DPCP to manage the arrears from the sale of the building. They could put this money into the Victims of Crime Fund, but we understand that in the current situation they want to compensate the victims directly [de Christian Varin] “, explains M.e Langlois.

Reached by email, the DPCP remains vague as to its intentions: “The legal acts are taking their course, the fate of the building will be decided after the verdict is announced”, which is expected later in the summer, prosecutors Nikolaus Ammerlaan have indicated.

With the collaboration of Daniel Renaud, The press

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