Desi Vancouver developer's multi-million dollar fraud trial in March
Former Vancouver real estate developer Tarsem Singh Gill, who is charged in one of the B.C.'s longest-running criminal cases, is expected to go on trial in March, his sixth trial date.chandigarh Updated: Jan 01, 2015 19:37 IST
Former Vancouver real estate developer Tarsem Singh Gill, who is charged in one of the B.C.'s longest-running criminal cases, is expected to go on trial in March, his sixth trial date.
Gill was initially charged in 2008 in connection with a multi-million-dollar mortgage fraud allegedly perpetrated nearly 16 years ago and involving dozens of homeowners.
Former lawyer Martin Wirick, Gill's co-accused, pleaded guilty in June 2009, and was sentenced to seven years in jail and disbarred. Wirick has served out his sentence and been released on parole.
Since Wirick's trial, there have been numerous court appearances for Gill, as he was represented by five defence lawyers.
In May 2013, in a four-week trial, he pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud but later applied successfully to withdraw his guilty plea and then re-elected to be tried by jury instead of by judge alone.
The case dragged on for so long that Kevin Gillett, the lead prosecutor, retired and had to be replaced by another Crown counsel.
Pre-trial motions are scheduled to be heard in February by B.C. Supreme Court Justice Terry Schultes, the trial judge in the case. Jury selection is in early March, followed by the trial.
Charges were laid against Gill following a six-year police investigation into a fraudulent scheme involving dozens of home purchases.
During Wirick's sentencing, court heard allegations that Wirick acted as Gill's solicitor and, from 1999 to 2002, misdirected money from Gill-related real-estate transactions.
Instead of paying off mortgages and liens on properties that unsuspecting people thought they were buying, Wirick funnelled the money, allegedly to Gill or his numbered companies, court heard. The mortgages on the homes remained.
Since Wirick's scam was discovered, the Law Society of B.C. has paid out $38.4 million to defrauded claimants after more than doubling assessment fees paid by all lawyers into a society compensation fund. It was described as the biggest-ever legal fraud in Canadian history.
The owners of 77 different properties were affected.