No one was innocent in $2 million Kelowna fraud case - InfoNews

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No one was innocent in $2 million Kelowna fraud case

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November 27, 2018 - 6:30 PM

KELOWNA - Greed got the better of both the victim and the man who took $2 million of his money and now they are both out plenty of cash.

Dan Keith Andersen, 59, was convicted in Kelowna Supreme Court last year for fraud and theft of over $5,000 — way over $5,000.

Andersen had made a deal with former Google executive, Bart Woytowicz from California, where he would hold $2 million of Woytowicz's money on the condition that it would not be touched or removed, according to a decision on sentencing released publicly last week.

This was supposed to profit both of them; the $2 million would make Andersen's company look enticing to investors who might enter into an arrangement that would generate money for both of them. According to Woytowicz, this was a common practice in Silicon Valley at the time. The Google exec was expecting to sell his film company to Andersen for $4 million, double what he lent him.

That didn't happen.

Andersen saw a chance to make even more money when he got duped by a company called Rubix Project Management SC that promised 200 times his investment so he transferred all of Woytowicz’s $2 million to them. It was a scam, and neither of them ever saw that money again.

In sentencing Andersen to two years less a day in prison — but served at home on a conditional sentence order — Justice Gary Weatherill explained all the ways this case was not typical of many cases of fraud.

The Crown asserted that he should do five years in prison, and cited 10 cases where the convicted got anywhere from four to seven years depending on the severity of the fraud. As a quote often cited in these cases goes, "The sentences in such cases are not really concerned with rehabilitation. Instead, they are concerned with general deterrence and with warning such persons that substantial penitentiary sentences will follow this type of crime."

The court also observes that "most major frauds are committed ... by well-educated persons of previous good character."

Even though it was Andersen on trial, Woytowicz wasn’t a completely innocent party.

"Mr. Woytowicz did not come to the arrangement he made with Mr. Andersen with clean hands,” Weatherill said. "He too was motivated by greed. He wanted Mr. Andersen to buy his 3D camera business for a significant sum of money and was prepared to go to the extraordinary length of transferring $2 million USD into Mr. Andersen’s company's account, knowing that the funds would be used to induce third parties into thinking the company had financial substance when it did not."

Additionally the gravity of Andersen's offense was not that bad compared to the cases that the Crown cited. Woytowicz could not be compared to some of the vulnerable victims of those cases, and while the loss affected his ability to invest, it did not leave him destitute.

Most cases of fraud involve many actions over a long period of time. Andersen, who had no criminal record and no history of this activity, made one decision at one time, albeit a very expensive decision.

The only aggravating factor in this case was that the amount involved exceeded one million dollars.

Andersen did not benefit from the crime; he had no criminal record up until he was arrested for the charges in May 2013; he was compliant and punctual in reporting to his bail supervisor, driving from Red Deer to Kelowna weekly to meet them; he never missed a court hearing; and there were eight letters of support on his behalf.

"By all accounts, Mr. Andersen is a dedicated father, grandfather, a good friend and a good employee,” Weatherill said.

He found the public was not at risk by having Andersen serve his sentence in the community.

As per the sentencing Andersen now has to meet six conditions. He has to be on good behaviour, show up to court, and meet with his supervisor in person when required. He has to remain under the jurisdiction of the B.C. Supreme Court, though he lives in Alberta, and he must remain in Alberta unless he gets permission from the court, he also has to notify them if he changes his name, address or job. Finally he has to perform 50 hours of community service within 18 months.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Shelby Thevenot or call (250) 819-6089 or email the editor You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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