He prefers prison Ex-lawyer refuses to say where the loot went

He prefers prison Ex-lawyer refuses to say where the loot went


A former Montreal lawyer suspected of embezzling $ 21 million from his clients could be jailed for a seventh time in six months, because he persists in not wanting to reveal where this loot went.

Gerald Eliot Levy, a former lawyer from Dollard-des-Ormeaux, in the west of the island of Montreal, was given by a judge until April 22 to explain what happened to the colossal sums which he received. were entrusted by a hundred investors from Montreal and elsewhere.

“I feel like it’s a Ponzi scheme,” says investor attorney Neil Stein.

“It sounds like the Earl Jones affair,” says one of those investors, Bruce Burnett.

Earl Jones is this Montrealer sentenced in 2010 to 11 years in prison after having defrauded nearly 160 investors for more than $ 50 million.


In the case of Gerald Eliot Levy, the money that evaporated was to be used to invest in real estate projects in Canada and the United States.

The companies headed by Me Levy are all attached to the Zenda group of Pointe-Claire. The company’s website has recently been discontinued.

Flea in the ear

In 2019, investors started to think something was wrong. Payments due to them had not been made and they found that municipal taxes for certain buildings had not been paid.

Confronted by accountants, Levy would then have used all kinds of excuses to avoid letting them into his offices. Investors then realized that documents provided by Levy to justify themselves were false.

In 2020, the firm Richter was appointed as receiver to shed light on this matter.



Front of his house in Dollard-des-Ormeaux.



Photo Martin Alarie

Front of his house in Dollard-des-Ormeaux.

Levy and his company were filed for bankruptcy by a judge in July following a creditor’s action. Since that time, investors have not known what is going on.

“The Court and interested parties are still unclear on how Mr. Levy personally spent the funds, namely over $ 11 million, except for [des] gifts [de 105 000 $] », Indignant Judge Louis J. Gouin, of the Superior Court, in a judgment dated mid-March.

Another $ 10 million has since been discovered in a Levy project, according to Stein, which could bring the alleged fraud by an investor to a total of $ 21 million.

Changing versions

Since last November, the ex-lawyer has been sent behind bars six times for his refusal to tell the whole truth.

In his final judgment, Judge Gouin gives Levy another ultimatum to respond, failing which he will spend most of the year in prison.

The judge quotes the receiver as saying that “Levy is scheming, constantly changing his story, and having to go to jail for a substantial period of time to tell the whole truth.”

“What’s really amazing is that he’s a former lawyer on top of that. He was a member of the Quebec Bar, ”says Neil Stein.

“Mr. Levy was declared disqualified from practicing the profession of lawyer following a bankruptcy [en juillet 2020] », Wrote Martine Meilleur, public relations advisor at the Barreau du Québec.

Nothing is excluded on where the money could be spent. Me Stein does not rule out that the loot can sleep in an account offshore, far from Quebec.

” Everything is possible. […] We don’t know, ”he said.

It has been impossible to speak to Levy for the past few days. His home phone number doesn’t work, and someone at the Zenda company number told us that he hadn’t worked there for a year. Levy’s attorney, Daniel Brook, declined to comment.


HE GIVEN FIVE VERSIONS

Gerald Levy has offered five different explanations in the past year for the disappearance of the millions of dollars.

He initially argued that the missing funds had been placed in guaranteed certificates of deposit at Scotiabank.

He then argued that he had loaned the money to certain people in Quebec, before admitting that the identity of these borrowers was false.

He then spoke of other borrowers on the pretext that it was dangerous for his security to name them. These clients did not exist either.

At another point, he said the funds were loaned to Arizona. But it was later discovered that half of the people he identified there had died.

At the end of November, he finally admitted that funds had been used for his personal use and that some documents were false.

He still hasn’t given a satisfactory explanation of how most of the money has gone.


IN TAULE 6 TIMES

November 12, 2020: Gerald E. Levy is sent to jail for seven days because his responses since January 2020 on where $ 11 million has been spent are deemed “completely unacceptable.”

November 19, 2020: Back in court, he was immediately jailed because his answers were once again deemed “unacceptable”.

November 30, 2020: Judge Gouin sends Levy back behind bars because a sworn statement prepared on November 27 by Levy is deemed even more nebulous than its previous versions.

December 7, 2020: Levy returns to the judge. He claims that no loan was made with the $ 11 million and that the money was used to pay for personal and business expenses and debts. His explanations are always considered “very confused, unclear and incomplete”. He is sent back to prison for 14 days.

December 21, 2020: The judge is putting him behind bars for the holidays because he still hasn’t fully explained what happened with the funds. He was released on January 12.

March 18, 2021: Gerald Levy is still deprived of his liberty for a day. The next day, he was given until April 22 to explain where the millions went.

“His life is a deception”



Bruce Burnett believes he was duped by his old friend Gerald Levy.



Photo Martin Alarie

Bruce Burnett believes he was duped by his old friend Gerald Levy.

Bruce Burnett is one of the Montreal investors who has placed hundreds of thousands of dollars with Gerald Levy since the early 2000s.

He is still in shock over what happened to him. He has spent most of the past year, around 30 hours a week, he says, trying to track the missing money. Until recently, he could never have suspected that this longtime friend was robbing him.

“I’ve known him for 50 years and I’ve never suspected anything, not for a second. He was a really good guy, nice, he explains. I do not know if we will ever find the funds that were embezzled. […] What is gone is gone. It’s incredible. His whole life is a deception, ”he wonders.

Worthy of a movie

“The damage he has done is immense,” he continues. We could make a movie with that. “

According to Burnett, Levy’s method was to meet with each investor separately, to avoid them talking to each other. He thinks Levy is still hiding terrible things so as to persist in not telling everything, even today.

The investor has some ideas about how the money was used, but was uncomfortable talking to a reporter about it.

“He doesn’t even have a luxurious lifestyle. It’s upper middle class, but nothing more, ”he said.

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