Ten years for lonely-heart fraud artist
A Montreal fraud artist who defrauded single seniors he met through the classifieds of tens of thousands of dollars, has been handed a ten-year prison sentence.
Mario Thouin, 61, targeted lonely hearts — five women, aged 61 to 73, some widows, others undergoing cancer treatments — and ripped them off to the tune of about $200,000 between January 2009 and February 2010.
"(They were) as vulnerable as they come," crown prosecutor Dennis Galiatsatos said of Thouin's victims.
Judge Maurice Galarneau took that into account in his ruling, as well as Thouin's lack of remorse and long history of fraud - he was on probation at the time after being sentenced to four years for similar crimes.
Thouin would pretend to be rich, but would ask his victims to lend him huge sums of money.
Having done this before, Galiatsatos said Thouin convinced his victims to give him the money, but never paid them back and threatened them if they asked. He even threatened one to withdraw her complaint. Thouin harassed his victims, phoning all five no less than 315 times.
The victims are now in debt, having lost their friends, families, homes and life savings. Some are dealing with emotional and trust issues following their ordeals.
Thouin's lawyer said he thought a seven year sentence would have sufficed.
"He had a problem with drugs and gambling so what can I tell you. Whatever remorse he has, maybe he has remorse for the life he had for the life that he lived, owing money to shylocks and stuff like that," said defence lawyer Gilles Daudelin.
With time served, Thouin has another seven years left in his sentence.