A ruthless financial adviser who robbed the estate of an octogenarian and a deceased woman for $235,000 has been sentenced to 18 months in prison and must pay back the embezzled money.
“He used his trusted position as a counselor to appropriate the victim’s funds, an elderly person with a loss of autonomy,” lamented Judge Alexandre Dalmau before sentencing Karim Skakni Tuesday at the Montreal courthouse.
Skakni, 37, is a former Royal Bank employee.
In 2016, he had gambling debts, and to pay them off, he dove into the account of a vulnerable 87-year-old senior who was struggling to “mind her business.”
In a matter of weeks he made 47 cash withdrawals from the elder’s investments.
He also withdrew just over $3,000 from the victim’s TFSA account, who has since died.
Photo Agency QMI, Mario Beauregard
Former financial adviser Karim Skakni, Tuesday at the Montreal courthouse.
“This event helped hasten his illness, I’m sure of it,” the victim’s daughter testified.
Thanks to this, the scam was discovered. After noticing suspicious transactions, she requested a meeting with Skakni.
Panicked, he had instead gone to the elder to confess everything and promised to refund it.
However, to achieve this, he delved into the account of the estate of a woman who died a little earlier.
As soon as the fraud was discovered, Skakni was fired while the bank compensated the victims.
“He abused the trust of his clients, but also of his employer,” said the judge.
However, Skakni was found guilty of fraud and hoping to avoid a long prison sentence. Me Mathieu Bédard pleaded his client’s sincere remorse and low risk of recidivism, and proposed temporary prison and community work as a defense.
Me For her part, Émilie Robert de la Couronne suggested up to two years in prison.
The meaning of denunciation
After considering the case, the judge finally decided on 18 months in prison, but also for a refund of the sums cheated. He has a strict schedule through 2034 to deposit about $12,000 a year in the bank.
After the sentencing, Mr Robert stressed the importance of denouncing this type of crime in order to protect the elderly.
“These are important files, we have the will to act quickly,” reminded the public prosecutor and called on the population to remain vigilant.