The land where developers had hoped to build a $ 700 million venture into hotels, condominiums and golf courses east of the gates of Jasper Park near Hinton. The project has never been completed.
A woman who defrauded dozens of investors hoping to secure a small slice of paradise in the shadows of the Canadian Rockies was sentenced to four years in prison and ordered to pay about $ 1.3 million in restitution to her victims.
Marie Laframboise, 61, pleaded guilty in early October for a felony count of 24 people who exceeded $ 5,000 over a failed condominium project linked to a luxury golf course on the outskirts of Jasper National Park.
Between April 1, 2006 and December 31, 2010, potential investors invested more than $ 870,000 in deposits for condominiums that were never built.
These deposits should be set aside in a trust relationship as set forth in the Condominium Property Law, but this money was used to pay for expenses and credit card debt related to Laframboise's business and the purchase of the Folding Mountain Campground.
A court-issued fact-finding last year said that about $ 94,000 was transferred to Laframboise's own personal bank account and about $ 44,000 was withdrawn at ATMs at casinos or companies with VLTs.
The victims who spoke at Monday's hearing at Queens Court Bench said not only about the financial devastation caused by the fraud but also about the emotional turmoil the victims suffered.
One of the victims, Jason Smith, told the court that he was a "total and total failure" and that he had disappointed his entire family after investing more than $ 100,000 in the venture, adding that this would lead him to "another life" . to try to recoup their losses.
Fighting back tears, Smith said his financial situation was so terrible at one point that he had to access his son's bank account to pay for food and gas for his family.
"You took something that was not yours," he said, occasionally looking at a statement prepared to look at Laframboise, who was sitting in the dock, dressed in blue jeans, a long-sleeved black blouse, and runners.
"You let other people suffer while you win. You're the reason I do not trust anyone anymore. "
Peter Schubert and Susan Schubert, who lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in failed deals, said they had known Laframboise for about a decade and even went on vacation with her.
Susan Schubert said her losses were not just a financial blow but a humiliating betrayal.
"Our lives will never be the same," she said.
Laframboise, a former Edmonton court clerk and a former RCMP civilian member before moving to property development, delivered a brief statement to the court before being sentenced.
"This is obviously haunting me and it will haunt me for the rest of my life," she said.
"I'm sorry for all the devastation these people have faced."
Judge Adam Germain described his fraud not as a stimulus from the moment of despair but as a calculated long-term scheme that predated families who wanted to prepare for retirement or to help establish a portfolio of properties they could afford to their families. .
Laframboise is credited 15 days for the time of service after his arrest.