Former real-estate executive to serve community sentence for multimillion fraud

No time behind bars.

CALGARY — A former real-estate investment executive who pleaded guilty to his part in a multimillion-dollar fraud will not be serving time behind bars.

Varun Aurora has been sentenced to two years less a day, to be served in the community.

Aurora, who is 33, was involved with Concrete Equities, which gave false information to investors looking to buy resort property in Mexico.

Provincial Judge Joanne Durant attached a number of conditions to his sentence, including one that Aurora complete 240 hours of community service.

He is not to leave his home for the first six months, with some exceptions that include work, medical emergencies and shopping for necessities.

Nor is Aurora — who must hand over his passport — to leave Alberta without written permission from his conditional sentence supervisor or the court.

Aurora has already agreed to pay $1 million in restitution.

Concrete Equities, which went into receivership in 2009, raised money from Canadian investors to buy undeveloped beach properties called the El Golfo de Santa Clara project in Senora, Mexico.

False information was given to investors and funds were diverted to other business ventures outside of the investment agreement between 2007 and 2009.

About 1,200 victims are believed to have lost more than $23 million. A condition of his sentence is that Aurora is not to knowingly have contact with any of them.

A total of 98 victim impact statements were filed with the court from people who lost anywhere from $10,000 to $150,000, Durant said.

She said most of those victims were of modest means.

“Many of these former investors spoke to feelings of betrayal, anger, embarrassment, violation, shame and, in one instance, even suicidal thoughts,” she said.

“They spoke of the extraordinary stress caused by the loss of potential retirement income, and in some cases believed this to be one factor in the actual disintegration of marriages.”

She noted some mitigating factors, such as Aurora showing remorse through his guilty plea, his lack of a criminal history and attempts to save the company from bankruptcy.

Prosecutor Steven Johnston said it took several months for the Crown and defence to come up with a joint submission for an appropriate sentence.

He said he expects the punishment to act as a deterrent.

“If you’re going to be an officer of a company, you have to actually act in the best interest of your investors and pay attention to what your colleagues are doing in the office,” he said.

“You’re not allowed to be asleep at the wheel, which is essentially what happened here.”

– The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Travellers arrive at Terminal 3 at Pearson Airport in Toronto early Monday, February 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
New rules appear to push international air travel down even further than pre-pandemic

OTTAWA — Canada’s new COVID-19 testing and quarantine rules for international air… Continue reading

Canopy Growth Corp. will deepen its U.S. presence by launching four sparkling cannabidiol waters, shown in a handout photo, there before possible federal legalization. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Canopy Growth
Canopy Growth launches first CBD drinks in U.S. as legalization talk intensifies

Quatreau sparkling waters will be sold through e-commerce

A nurse assistant prepares a dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for COVID-19 during a priority vaccination program for health workers at a community medical center in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Andre Penner
Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for COVID-19 needs better promotion: experts

National Advisory Committee on Immunization makes recommendations

A man receives his COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic at Olympic Stadium marking the beginning of mass vaccination in the Province of Quebec based on age in Montreal, on Monday, March 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Most Canadians confident federal vaccine rollout is back on track: poll

Fifty-six per cent of respondents confident in vaccine supply

Red Deer dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped save a missing pet recently. The two dogs have more than 80,000 followers on Twitter. (Contributed photo)
WATCH: Red Deer science dogs help save lost pet

Red Deer science-communicating dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped rescue a missing pet… Continue reading

A nurse assistant prepares a dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for COVID-19 during a priority vaccination program for health workers at a community medical center in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Andre Penner
COVID-19 cases start to climb again as variants spread, in step with dire forecasts

OTTAWA — Canada’s chief public health officer says new COVID-19 cases are… Continue reading

Shipping containers are seen at the Fairview Cove Container Terminal in Halifax on Friday, Aug. 25, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Statistics Canada to release final economic figures for 2020, January GDP estimate

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada is expected to say today precisely how bad… Continue reading

FILE - In this Jan. 31, 2020, file photo, former NBA player Shaquille O’ Neal is interviewed on the red carpet for Shaq’s Fun House in Miami. O’Neal is set to perform in his first competitive match when he teams in All Elite Wrestling with Jade Cargill in a mixed tag to take on Cody Rhodes and Red Velvet at Daily’s Place on an episode of “Dynamite,” Wednesday, March 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)
Shaq Attack: O’Neal ready to rumble in tag match for AEW

O’Neal’s first competitive match with All Elite Wrestling

Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee President Seiko Hashimoto, center, speaks during a Tokyo 2020 executive board meeting in Tokyo, Tuesday, March 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara, Pool)
Tokyo Olympics add 12 women to executive board to reach 42 per cent

Board will now have 19 women among its 45 members

The Stratford Festival’s Festival Theatre is shown in Stratford, Ont., on May 28, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Robins
Stratford Festival plans next stages with two outdoor summer venues

Ontario festival productions set for between late June and the end of September

Treena Mielke
From record player to CD

When I first began dating my husband, he drove a little old… Continue reading

Opinion
Ottawa banks on Big Pharma making Canada pandemic-proof

Liberal fireball François-Philippe Champagne may be brand new to his portfolio as… Continue reading

Most Read