One investor ripped off by convicted fraudster Edward Chieduch suffered relationship problems, another had to return to low-paying work long after retirement, while a third felt a deep sense of betrayal from a friend.
Chieduch, a 58-year-old former insurance and investment adviser, was sentenced Thursday to two years in jail, a federal sentence, for defrauding eight people of $312,000 in a Ponzi scheme.
Provincial court Judge Chris Cleaveley reported in his judgment that one of those investors said Chieduch's "'target was grey hair and money.'"
With neatly trimmed hair and wearing a grey suit jacket, Chieduch was led out of the courtroom by sheriffs after the sentencing. He pleaded guilty earlier this year to a single count of fraud over $5,000.
Prior to sentencing, Cleaveley asked him if he had anything to say.
"I'm very sorry for what I've done," was Chieduch's only response.
Calling it "nonsensical" and without evidence, Cleaveley rejected the investment advisor's explanation that he was duped himself by a Nigerian banking fraud and invested further money overseas in an attempt get his own and client's money back.
"Is it reasonable to believe Mr. Chieduch was duped in a Nigerian scam? Is it a mitigating factor? The answer to both is no," Cleaveley said.
Chieduch took investors' money between 2005 and 2010, promising a 10 per cent return. He worked for 22 years as an insurance and investment advisor after leaving his trade of meat cutting as a young man.
He claimed to have invested the money in the Philippines, but shredded his paperwork.
A Ponzi scheme is one whereby new investors' money is used to pay other, original investors. It inevitably collapses when new investors slow and original investors demand payment.
Chieduch claimed bankruptcy last year.
The Crown asked for a two-year jail term, while defence asked for a conditional sentence, or a one-year jail sentence. His lawyer also proposed Chieduch pay back investors at a rate of $200 a month - something the judge rejected.
Cleaveley also ordered Chieduch pay restitution, meaning investors may take him to civil court should he ever gain meaningful income once out of jail. He is banned for life from trading securities by the B.C. Securities Commission.
Chieduch reported an attempt at suicide at one point. He was also committed to a hospital psychiatric ward for a short period.
Investors lost between $15,000 and $100,000 each.
Cleaveley said as a result of their losses, investors' lives have changed forever.
One reported stress in a marriage, while another retired person can no longer afford to travel. One of the investors, who lost $100,000, recently died and the loss affected the inheritance for an only child.