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Bowmanville green-power promoter guilty of defrauding investors

Gregory James Saunders convinced investors they were buying into a lucrative company that built wind turbines and collapsible homes, but his Saunders Power Incorporated was nothing but a sham, prosecutor Michael Malleson said.

'Lies, forgery and tall tales' fuelled fraud

OSHAWA -- Investors who sank money into a Bowmanville-based green energy company were bilked of more than $600,000, a judge heard Wednesday.

Gregory James Saunders convinced investors they were buying into a lucrative company that built wind turbines and collapsible homes, but his Saunders Power Incorporated was nothing but a sham, prosecutor Michael Malleson said.

"Gregory Saunders had a toolbox filled with lies, forgery and tall tales," Mr. Malleson told Ontario Court Justice William Bradley. "(He) resorted to these tools time and time again to extract money and resources from his victims."

Those victims included 12 investors, who lost sums ranging from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars, as well employees who were sporadically paid, and investment advisers who were duped into steering clients toward SPI, Mr. Malleson said.

Some investors were left "destitute", court heard.

Mr. Saunders, 56, was to have begun a five-day trial Wednesday, but instead pleaded guilty to four counts including fraud over $5,000, forgery and breach of probation. He is to be sentenced next week.

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'Lies, forgery and tall tales' fuelled fraud

OSHAWA -- Investors who sank money into a Bowmanville-based green energy company were bilked of more than $600,000, a judge heard Wednesday.

Gregory James Saunders convinced investors they were buying into a lucrative company that built wind turbines and collapsible homes, but his Saunders Power Incorporated was nothing but a sham, prosecutor Michael Malleson said.

"Gregory Saunders had a toolbox filled with lies, forgery and tall tales," Mr. Malleson told Ontario Court Justice William Bradley. "(He) resorted to these tools time and time again to extract money and resources from his victims."

Those victims included 12 investors, who lost sums ranging from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars, as well employees who were sporadically paid, and investment advisers who were duped into steering clients toward SPI, Mr. Malleson said.

Some investors were left "destitute", court heard.

Mr. Saunders, 56, was to have begun a five-day trial Wednesday, but instead pleaded guilty to four counts including fraud over $5,000, forgery and breach of probation. He is to be sentenced next week.

Mr. Saunders promoted "corkscrew-style" wind turbines, said to be capable of producing energy that could be sold back to the Ontario Power Authority for a profit. Police were contacted by a suspicious investment adviser in January 2012 and launched an investigation.

Shortly after that, Mr. Saunders's son, Dustin Saunders, went to the Ontario Securities Commission with documents he said proved his father had defrauded investors.

Dustin Saunders, who was "second in command" at SPI, has also been charged with fraud and faces trial later this year, Mr. Malleson said.

"Dustin Saunders told authorities he is innocent of any wrongdoing, that he is as much a victim as anyone else," Mr. Malleson noted.

The documents handed over the to OSC were tendered as exhibits at Gregory Saunders's hearing Wednesday. Among them were forged e-mails, letters and financial documents, all designed, Mr. Malleson said, to bolster the viability of the enterprise and convince investors to keep pouring money into SPI.

Meanwhile, Mr. Saunders was reporting no income at all and company assets of $100 to the Canada Revenue Agency, court heard.

The majority of the money raked in during the scam has yet to be traced by police, Mr. Malleson said.

But the investigation did reveal that in January 2010, Mr. Saunders took $40,000 from an investor and used it to pay restitution after being found guilty of a fraud-related offence in Peterborough, thus avoiding jail time, court heard.

Mr. Malleson also read into the record an e-mail sent by Mr. Saunders to a nervous investor who had been badgering him in an effort to get her money back.

"If I receive any more grief from you I will simply put it in my lawyer's hands," Mr. Saunders wrote. "You will not see a dime for a very long time."

Mr. Saunders said little during the hearing except to acknowledge the facts read into the record.

"He understands a restitution order will certainly be registered," defence lawyer Paul Affleck told the judge.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 12.


Source: http://www.durhamregion.com...

JUN 6 2013
https://www.windaction.org/posts/37370-bowmanville-green-power-promoter-guilty-of-defrauding-investors
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