Fraud worth 3 years in prison, court told
Former motivational speaker lied to her investors, costing them a total of $160,000
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.