Fraud worth 3 years in prison, court told

For­mer mo­ti­va­tional speaker lied to her in­vestors, cost­ing them a to­tal of $160,000

Waterloo Region Record - - Local - JEFF OUTHIT Water­loo Re­gion Record Twit­ter: @OuthitRecord

WATER­LOO RE­GION — A for­mer mo­ti­va­tional speaker found guilty of fraud de­serves to be sent to prison for three years, banned for life from fi­nan­cial trad­ing, and or­dered to pay back her vic­tims, a prose­cu­tor ar­gues.

Michelle Dunk lied to four in­vestors who lost al­most $160,000 in to­tal, Crown prose­cu­tor Lia Di Gi­ulio said.

“This fraud in­volved a high level of plan­ning and de­cep­tion over a lengthy pe­riod of time, mo­ti­vated en­tirely by greed,” Di Gi­ulio said.

“Ms. Dunk knew these people well, and she knew that what she was tak­ing was all their money.”

Dunk’s lawyer Paul Slan­sky is seek­ing a 60-day jail sen­tence to be served on week­ends, plus com­mu­nity ser­vice and pro­ba­tion. He ar­gues Dunk was also duped by oth­ers and is not a crim­i­nal.

Di Gi­ulio re­sponded: “She is not a vic­tim.”

The prose­cu­tor ques­tioned kind words said about Dunk by fam­ily and oth­ers who wrote let­ters of sup­port. “They may not know Ms. Dunk as well as they think they do,” she said.

Jus­tice Melanie Sopinka will sen­tence Dunk next month.

Dunk, 41, of Water­loo was found guilty of four charges un­der the Se­cu­ri­ties Act: fraud, trad­ing se­cu­ri­ties while pro­hib­ited, il­le­gally distribut­ing se­cu­ri­ties and trad­ing with­out reg­is­tra­tion.

One of her vic­tims, Frances Boy­chuk, was her friend for more than 20 years. She lost $38,000 and told the court that she feels ashamed.

An­other vic­tim cries at times over los­ing all his re­tire­ment sav­ings. He must now drive a school bus to sup­port him­self, Di Gi­ulio said.

The of­fences oc­curred be­tween 2012 and 2016. They are re­lated to Dunk sell­ing prom­is­sory notes to a friend, the friend’s mother and cousin to fund clos­ing costs for a joint ven­ture be­tween Rocky Point En­ergy and First Bos­ton Global Cus­tody and Trust Co.

In 2016, Dunk was sen­tenced to 75 days in jail on week­ends on a dif­fer­ent mat­ter, after plead­ing guilty to un­reg­is­tered trad­ing and breach­ing an or­der by the On­tario Se­cu­ri­ties Com­mis­sion.

Dunk begged the judge not to send her to prison, say­ing she will never re­sume work in the fi­nan­cial in­dus­try and was wrong to as­sure her vic­tims that their in­vest­ments were 100 per cent safe.

Her ac­tions caused “tremen­dous pain and loss to all in­volved” in­clud­ing her­self, Dunk said.

She spoke about how the fraud affected Frances Boy­chuk: “Her hurt and anger is un­der­stood and jus­ti­fied.”

She said the week­ends she spent in jail changed her life and that she must “take re­spon­si­bil­ity for the mis­takes I have made ... The con­se­quences I carry will be with me forever.”

Dunk told the court she at­tempted sui­cide in 2016 and has been helped by at­tend­ing coun­selling ses­sions.

Since be­ing charged, she has mar­ried and is step­mother to three chil­dren.

She strug­gles to find work and is rais­ing rab­bits and clean­ing homes.

In 2012, Dunk was a fea­tured speaker at the In­spir­ing Women event in Kitch­ener.

She iden­ti­fied her­self as an en­tre­pre­neur who over­came child­hood sex­ual abuse to help other women find their in­ner strength.

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