A “big draw” of 3.25 million | Fraudster sentenced to three years in prison

A con man who devised an absurd fraudulent scheme to scam around 30 victims was sentenced to three years in prison on Friday. Gyula Jr. Barta even risks serving three more years in prison if he doesn’t pay his victims back half a million dollars over the next ten years.

Posted at 4:34pm

Louis Samuel Perron

Louis Samuel Perron
The press

“It’s absolutely indescribable. He attacked longtime friends who had every reason to trust him. […] Had it not been for certain favorable factors, the verdict would have been much harsher,” concluded Justice Robert Marchi at the Crown’s suggestion. The defendant asked for a prison sentence of two years less a day.

Gyula Jr. Barta has tricked the majority of his victims into believing in a “big draw” of $3.25 million. Thanks to his aura of wealthy investor and scholar, the 60-year-old scammer convinced twenty or so acquaintances to give him $250 to $2,500 to reserve “seats” at a conference attended by a mysterious octogenarian billionaire.

The scammer promised to give away 70 prizes, including two grand prizes worth $1 million, and give each a “big envelope.” In so doing, he made victims believe that their initial investment would surely “come back” to them.

“These beautiful promises were too good to be true,” concluded Judge Marchi.

Whole families were thus ruined to get these counterfeit banknotes from the scammer. Some had to postpone their retirement, others went into debt.

Gyula Jr. Barta also extorted $125,000 from a victim in 2009 by dangling huge returns. Back then, the 60-year-old made everyone believe he was a prolific investor who ran a team of “traders.”

According to the judge, Gyula Jr. Barta’s fraud involved a “high” level of intent and planning. Judge Marchi also called the breach of trust in the victims a “very” aggravating factor. The judge cited the defendant’s admission of guilt, his apologies to the victims and his sincere remorse as mitigating factors.

As part of a compensatory sentence, Gyula Jr. Barta has 10 years after his parole to pay back nearly half a million dollars to his victims. If he does not pay back this amount, he faces another three years in prison. This penalty is reduced at the end of these 10 years in proportion to the amount reimbursed.

Me Denis Trottier represented the prosecution while Mr Barta defended himself alone.

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