A Red Deer man who went off the rails after the death of his wife has been sentenced to two years in prison for his part in a fraud scheme.
Kevin Sveinson was sentenced in Red Deer provincial court on Monday after pleading to a variety of offences arising from a scheme in which an elderly Red Deer businessman — his second cousin — was defrauded of more than $500,000 over a period of four years.
Special prosecutor Tony Bell told Judge Jim Mitchell that Sveinson had played a lesser role in a fraud scheme in which the victim, now 84, was convinced to provide financial help for him and his common-law partner, Theresa Sutherland, 51.
Sutherland had plied victim with a number of stories, of which most were untrue, to get money and loans.
She then used stolen cheques to pay the victim back for portions of the debt, said Bell. Those cheques were subsequently dishonoured at the bank upon which they were drawn.
“The accused’s role was mainly providing access to the complainant. It was really Miss Sutherland who was driving the bus, so to speak,” said Bell.
Defence counsel Paul Morigeau said his client met Sutherland through a dating service about 10 years ago, after the death of his wife.
He had been working as a journeyman carpenter and owned his own home, said Morigeau.
Sveinson became addicted to crack cocaine and lost his home and his job after his wife died and during his relationship with Sutherland, he said.
While Sveinson’s criminal record dates back to the early 1970s, including a conviction for possession of illegal drugs, he had remained clean for 17 years and his prior convictions were not related to the offences that brought him into court on Monday, said Bell.
He and Morigeau joined in asking Mitchell for a global sentence of two years on charges including fraud of a value over $5,000, fraud under, theft under, uttering false documents and breaching release conditions.
Sutherland, who was sentenced to 30 months in prison and three years on probation after pleading guilty on Dec. 18 to fraud, theft, forgery, possession of stolen property and breaching release conditions.
Mitchell supported the sentencing recommendation for Sveinson, stating that he had “made a wise decision” in entering a guilty plea.
Mitchell ordered that Sveinson provide a DNA sample for the national database and recommended that he serve his sentence in Grande Cache, as requested by defence counsel.