A repeat scammer who stole a couple of $126,000 by pretending they were buying a duplex could get away with a light sentence if their loved ones manage to compensate the victims for them.
“If there is a full refund, there will be a mild joint proposal,” said Me The Crown’s Denis Trottier on the file of Gloria Echevarria Albu Paz this Tuesday at the Montreal Courthouse.
Shortly before that, the 67-year-old defendant had pleaded guilty to fraud that spanned five years in 2015.
Echevarria Albu Paz was already on probation for a fraud conviction at the time. But that didn’t stop her from doing it again, this time against a pair she’d met by chance a few years earlier. She capitalized on his desire to access the property, utilizing the “haunted house” scheme.
Property not available
“She told them that a lady was leaving the country, that she was responsible for selling her duplex at a low price, and that if the couple were interested in buying it, they would put a $4,000 down payment on the The file must be opened,” explained the crown.
After several meetings, the couple accepted the offer and made an initial payment, but without becoming the owners since the duplex did not exist.
“She would tell them that there was a dispute in court, that property had been confiscated, that there was a change of judge [dans le soi-disant dossier]…” the Crown listed, explaining that the scammer even gave them an appointment at the courthouse on several occasions.
And of course, the scammer continued to siphon money from them. Caught in this spiral, the couple paid between $500 and $1,500 a week, for a total of $126,000.
“You lost everything,” the crown dropped, explaining that what both husband and wife wanted most of all was to see the lost money back.
But since Echevarria Albu Paz does not have the means to pay back his relatives will pay for him and allow him to seek clemency from the prosecutor.
And while she awaits sentencing until next January, she will remain free on bail with the Crown’s approval.
This decision caused a stir for Judge Jean-Jacques Gagné, who recalled that Echevarria Albu Paz had several antecedents to fraud. In 2013 she had also received a prison sentence with subsequent probation for an identical fraud.
“At the next appointment she has to be in front of me with her personal effects because I will lock her up regardless of the lawyers’ suggestion,” he said.