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Classic-car fraud trial gets the green light

Friday, March 26th, 2010 | 10:00 am

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A 1963 Chevrolet Corvetted, within the makes and model years police alleged were involved in Kurtis Pomerleau's fraudulent dealings. (Photo contributed by GM Corp.)

By Joe Fries

An alleged fraudster who police say preyed on classic-car collectors he met online ran out of gas in a last-ditch effort to have the charges dropped due to delays in his case.

Kurtis Pomerleau’s application was denied late Thursday in B.C. Supreme Court in Kelowna, which means his 20-day trial has the green light to begin next month. He did not appear in court.

Mounties said at the time he was first charged in April 2007 that the then-42-year-old Pomerleau used Internet sites such as eBay and craigslist to sell muscle cars from the 1960s and 1970s to mostly U.S.-based customers. However, the collectors later received cars of lesser value than they paid for, or simply received no cars at all.

When all was said and done, Pomerleau was charged with 17 counts of fraud, said to have occurred between September 2005 and June 2007, which cost victims in the range of $600,000.

Defence counsel Grant Gray argued that his client’s Charter right to be tried within a reasonable period of time had been breached, considering his trial is currently expected to wrap up some 42 months after police executed a search warrant at his Kelowna home, and some 37 months after the first set of charges were sworn.

Since June 2007, when Pomerleau was first released on bail, he has not been allowed to use the Internet, nor has been allowed to buy or sell cars, which the court heard has had a significant impact on his income.  The delay has also increased Pomerleau’s legal expenses and caused him undue anxiety.

Justice Alison Beams found some of the delays were caused by slow evidence disclosure from police, who recommended new charges twice after the initial five in April 2007. But she accepted that cops spent a considerable amount of time “following the money and following the electronic trail of information,” in what “was not, and is not, a straightforward case.”

She also found that the Crown was partly responsible for the delays, because of scheduling conflicts, which were compounded by the resultant delays in a provincial court that is “increasingly overwhelmed by workload and short of judges.”

The case was eventually shifted to B.C. Supreme Court with the consent of B.C.’s attorney general.

In her conclusion, Beames noted that Pomerleau did not use his application “as an offensive weapon,” but that “strong societal interest” outweighed any prejudices against him. The trial starts April 19.

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Timeline of legal proceedings against Kurtis Pomerleau:

November 2006: RCMP execute a search warrant at Pomerleau’s home in Kelowna. He’s arrested, but not charged.

April 2007: Pomerleau is charged with five counts of fraud. He was supposed to make a first court appearance in May, but that date was adjourned in April because disclosure was slow in coming from police.

June 2007: A second information was sworn charging Pomerleau with the original five fraud charges plus three new ones. Later that month, more charges are sworn, bringing the total to 15, including one alleged to have taken place within the previous six weeks. He is released on a $10,000 recognizance, with conditions that he not access the Internet and not buy or sell cars.

November 2007: After a few adjournments due again to slow disclosure from police to the Crown and then to the defence, a date for an eight-day preliminary inquiry in provincial court is set for September 2008.

August 2008: After a pre-trial conference set for the previous month is adjourned twice, the Crown prosecutor eventually applies for an adjournment of the preliminary inquiry, because a murder case he’s handling has gone on longer than scheduled. The adjournment is granted. The preliminary inquiry is then set to start in June 2009. Also in August, news breaks that Pomerleau has been hit with two similar fraud charges by police in Calgary.

June 2009: Crown decides, with the consent of B.C.’s attorney general, to proceed by direct indictment in B.C. Supreme Court on 17 fraud charges, thus eliminating the need for a preliminary inquiry. The old charges are stayed in provincial court.

October 2009: After several scheduled court appearances to fix a date for trial are cancelled by the courts, lawyers for both sides have a telephone conference with the Supreme Court’s associate chief justice and a trial date is set for April 19, 2010.

March 2010: Pomerleau’s is unsuccessful in his application to have the charges against him stayed due to unreasonable delay in having him brought to trial.

Classic-car fraud trial gets the green light4.054

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One Response to “Classic-car fraud trial gets the green light”

  1. Mark L. Corrallo says:
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    I was a victim of Kurt Pomerleau back in 2000 when he sold me a rusty, broken-down Cadillac that he represented as a show car. I lost $8,000, which was a fortune to me back then. I am so happy to hear that piece of trash is being brought to justice. Please God, please God, please God, let him do some jail time.

    Please continue discussion on the forum: link

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