Unscrupulous fraudster who robbed more than $500,000 from his own friends by making it look like he wanted to hand out millions in a 'big raffle', among other things, won't escape jail time, may even be forced to repay everything.
"[The victims] were not wealthy people, there are some who have lost their homes, their savings, their retirement... There has been terrible distress", lamented Me Denis Trottier of the Crown, this Monday at the Montreal courthouse.
Immediately after, the prosecutor claimed 3 years in prison against Gyula Jr Barta, an unscrupulous fraudster who had attacked dozens of victims between 2009 and 2015.
At first, Barta, 60, presented himself as a "very successful broker", can we read in the summary of the facts of the case. Mainly targeting friends and acquaintances, he solicited him by promising to make their money grow. Except that once the funds were received, Barta used the money to maintain a small lifestyle and pay his rent.
“He reported a great general knowledge, extensive knowledge on various subjects and whose conversation was always interesting and relevant, indicates the summary of the facts. He is generous in addition to showing an exceptional sense of humor.
Barta was thus able to defraud a real estate broker out of $125,000, while another man lost $45,900. Victims, seduced by Barta's promises, had also drawn their families into these false investments which cost them tens of thousands of dollars.
Seeking to line his pockets even more, Barta then devised a new scheme, targeting his acquaintances with the most financial difficulties.
“He invites his friends to a conference at which there will be an unprecedented wealth giveaway through a raffle with cash prizes of $3.25 million,” reads the summary of facts.
Except that to participate in this “draw”, those interested had to make “a small financial contribution to reserve their seats”.
“The more the person puts in a large amount, the more likely they are to win a large amount,” the summary of facts states.
Barta, who thus pocketed tens of thousands of dollars, however promised that this money would be given to the participants during this evening. Obviously, it never happened and instead he was met by investigators. Criminally charged, he eventually pleaded guilty to multiple fraud charges.
"I keep thinking endlessly about the financial loss I caused in your lives and families, your shattered dreams and the lost friendships because of my lies," Barta said during Monday's hearing.
Claiming to have deep regrets and to be "extremely ashamed", he said he was ready to pay for his crimes. He thus suggested a sentence of two years less a day, while saying he was ready to reimburse the amounts defrauded as part of a compensatory fine.
Barta would thus have 10 years to return the money to his victims, failing which he will have to serve an additional three years in prison.
Judge Robert Marchi will hand down the sentence next month.