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Kelowna Capital News
No jail time for fraudster in trouble with Independent Soldiers
A car salesman who defrauded two people out of their BMWs after he ran afoul of the Independent
Soldiers will serve his sentence in the community he’s hiding out in.
Crown counsel had suggested a short stint in jail would be best for David Mills, but his lawyer argued that time behind bars “might be tantamount to something more serious” because of the connections of the Independent Soldiers in jail.
Instead, West Munson asked for a conditional sentence, which Judge Jane Cartwright agreed to.
While she called Mills’ situation with the Independent Soldiers “horrifying,” Cartwright said she didn’t want to encourage others to take similar action by making it appear okay to resort to fraud to repay debts.
Instead, she said Mills received a conditional sentence because the crime is comparable to employee theft and the higher courts have already deemed a conditional sentence an appropriate sanction in such cases.
Mills, 43, appeared in court via video link from an undisclosed location for his sentencing, as members of the Independent Soldiers are “seriously interested” in locating him because they say he owes them money, Munson said.
The debt dates back several years, when Mills borrowed money for his auto sales business. At the time, he didn't know he had borrowed from the Independent Soldiers, said Munson.
"It was a deal with the devil," said Munson.
Mills committed the frauds because he was behind on his payments and was "desperately trying to avoid that other kind of justice," Munson added.
Crown counsel Dave Ruse said Mills entered into consignment agreements to sell two BMWs for their owners back in 2009, after he was warned by the provincial authority that regulates car salesmen that he did not have the proper licence to consign vehicles.
When one of the vehicle owners went to check on the status of his vehicle, he discovered Mills had left the auto dealer and his vehicle had been moved to an unknown location. That prompted the vehicle owner to contact police.
Authorities learned that Mills had traded the two BMWs for a Hummer, and then sold the Hummer for $40,000.
The owners of the BMWs were not given payment for the sale by Mills.
As a result of the fraud, the Motor Dealer Customer Compensation Fund paid out $60,000 to the various car owners that were ensnared in the fraud and an insurance company paid $10,000 to the auto dealership Mills had worked out of at the time.
The payments reflect the maximum payouts allowed under the policies, and not the actual loss suffered by various individuals, the court heard.
Mills has nowbeen ordered to pay $70,000 restitution as part of his sentencing on the two counts of fraud over $5,000 that he pleaded guilty to in October.
He must also serve an 18 month conditional sentence. The first six months he must be in his house each night by 7 p.m. Other conditions include not drinking alcohol and completing 100 hours of community work service.
-with files from Jennifer Smith