An Island man who provided bookkeeping services and defrauded clients is facing two years in federal prison.
Mark Christopher Raymer, 36, of Charlottetown pleaded guilty Tuesday in P.E.I. Supreme Court to two counts of fraud over $5,000.
One of Raymer’s victims, a Charlottetown house painting business for whom he did payroll and accounting work, lost $26,000.
Raymer’s other victim, a company in Nova Scotia, lost $34,000.
Raymer was under a court order not to work in financial services when he defrauded the Nova Scotia company.
“This fraudulent cheque was written one day after he started working there,” said Crown prosecutor Lisa Goulden during Raymer’s sentencing hearing.
Reading from an agreed statement of facts, Goulden told court Raymer wrote five fraudulent cheques to himself while employed by GNF Investments Ltd. of Halifax. The first, for $25,000 was written one day after he was hired in March, 2018. The frauds were later discovered when he was absent from work and another employee handled his job duties.
Raymer’s fraud involving the house painting business was discovered when the owner of the company received a bill from the federal government for unpaid taxes. Raymer had been hired to handle the company’s taxes and payroll remittances. Instead, he deposited money in his own bank account, court heard.
Following Tuesday’s court appearance, Raymer has now been convicted of fraud four times.
Crown prosecutor Lisa Goulden told court there is “little prospect of rehabilitation.”
“Greed was the sole motivator,” said Goulden.
Raymer was previously convicted of sexual exploitation, Goulden told court. She did not provide details of the incident.
Past fraud victims on P.E.I. include a children’s camp, a non-profit film society, and a job-placement firm.
Money was paid back in previous convictions
According to court records, Raymer was fired from his job with a Charlottetown accounting firm in 2016, after he stole $115,000 from one of the firm’s clients, Camp Seggie. The matter was settled out of court and Raymer paid $90,000 back to the non-profit children’s camp. The remainder of the missing funds were replaced by anonymous donors. Raymer was not charged criminally in this case.
While working for the same firm, Raymer also obtained the banking information for the Charlottetown Film Society and transferred money without authorization into his own bank account. Raymer pleaded guilty to fraud over $5,000 and paid back some of what he took from the non-profit organization.
Also in 2016, Raymer worked for an Island job-placement firm, which matched job seekers with employers. According to court documents, Raymer created fictional clients and companies, and composed fake emails in which they discussed job offers. Raymer pleaded guilty to defrauding the job-placement firm of $9,000 in unearned commissions. Raymer sold his house to pay the money back.
In 2018, Raymer was sentenced to six months in provincial jail in those two cases.
Recent victim still feeling financial impact
Following Tuesday’s sentencing hearing, the owner of the Charlottetown house painting business told CBC News, he’s still feeling the financial impact of Raymer’s crime.
“It’s been tough,” said Joey Mullins, “I’m still trying to hold my head above water. You just have to move on.”
None of the money in the two recent frauds has been paid back, court heard.
The Crown prosecutor and defence are jointly recommending two years in federal prison and three years on probation.
“A sentence in a federal institution is a significant step,” said defence lawyer Thane MacEachern.
No gambling or addiction issues
Raymer has no gambling problems or addictions issues, according to a report prepared by justice officials. Raymer is working with a local church elder and a counsellor to “deal with underlying issues,” according to MacEachern.
Raymer stood up in court Tuesday and said he’s sorry.
“I’d like to apologize for taking the court’s time once again and to Joey Mullins and to GNF,” said Raymer. “It was very deceitful and very wrong. I look forward to being a better person and a better father to my children.”
The Crown prosecutor also wants Raymer banned for seven years from doing financial work of any kind, even on a volunteer basis. She also wants the court to order Raymer to disclose his criminal record and details of it to all future employers.
Justice Gergory Cann will hand down sentence August 13.