Court upholds jail sentence for woman who swindled Alberni residents

A woman who bilked Port Alberni seniors out of more than $19,000 has had heir eight-year prison sentence upheld by the B.C. Court of Appeal.

A B.C. Court of Appeal panel has upheld the eight year prison sentence of a woman who swindled $800,000 out of seniors in Port Alberni and the Lower Mainland.

The panel’s judgement was released on Thursday.

Judith Slobbe , 64, was originally sentenced last year after pleading guilty to 11 counts of fraud, one count of theft, one count of forgery and one count of perjury.

Slobbee’s criminal record showed  “…a cold and calculating disregard for the law”, Provincial Court Judge Ronald Fratkin noted when he sentenced her in 2010.

It also showed a “…consistent pattern of illegal behavior throughout her criminal career”.

She spent the swindled money on jewelery, travel, clothing, cars, furniture and other personal items, the judgment noted.

Slobbe perpetrated the offences in Richmond, Vancouver, and Port Alberni between 2001 and 2009.

Her lawyer appealed on the grounds that sentencing judge Ron Fratkin erred in his decision by imposing a sentence disproportionate to crimes Slobbe was convicted of.

Her attorney also claimed that Fratkin mischaracterized Slobbe’s criminal record, and treated her lack of remorse as an aggravating factor.

The defense sought a three-and-a half to four year sentence.

The three-member appeal panel disagreed though.

“It is my opinion that the sentencing judge did not err in principle in any of the ways claimed by the appellant,” Justice Risa Levine wrote in the panel’s appeal judgment.

“…the sentences imposed for these offences on this offender are appropriate, and the totality of the sentences, while high, is not demonstrably unfit.”

Fratkin took into account the seriousness of the offences, their impact on victims and communities and Slobbe’s high moral culpability when rendering his sentence, Levine noted.

Slobbee defrauded $712,000 from the Fraserview Intermediate Care Lodge in Richmond between 2001 and 2004.

The offences in Port Alberni started when Slobbe and her husband moved here in April 2007, and they continued until her arrest in December 2009, the judgement’s background facts showed.

Slobbee defrauded a number of senior citizens and others out of as much as $19,000 in one case.

She also stole items from the estate of a man she had befriended.

Slobbe was predatory in her selection of victims, who were mostly “single, elderly and seeking companionship,” the judgment noted.

“In the end, they were extremely vulnerable and easy prey.”

reporter@albernivalleynews.clom

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