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‘I wanted to be a big shot’: Elderly B.C. fraudster in trouble again

Judith Lynn Slobbe once served as a poster girl for the rights of non-violent criminals to get accelerated parole.

The 69-year-old fraudster went all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada in 2014 to prevent the then-Conservative government from taking early release away from people like her who were sentenced before the rules changed.

She won her case and was automatically paroled despite a lengthy criminal record, the warnings of victims and the fact the Parole Board of Canada determined her risk of reoffending was high.

CBC News has learned that Slobbe’s full parole was revoked earlier this month after she was allegedly caught attempting to victimize a vulnerable elderly widower in a $2.3-million real estate deal gone sour.

“The vendor of the property was a senior citizen who had recently lost his wife, and it is reported that you attempted to endear yourself to him by visiting him and providing coffee and religious CDs,” the parole board decision reads.

“When asked why you had engaged in your deceitful behaviour, you stated: “Greed — I wanted to be a big shot.”

‘Criminality is relentless’

When provincial court Judge Ron Fratkin sent Slobbe to jail in April 2010, he gave her a tongue lashing along with a sentence of seven years and seven months — longer than even the Crown had asked for.

Dressed in a grey sweatsuit, Slobbe turned her head to the wall as Fratkin described her as “an undeterred chronic recidivist whose criminality is relentless.”

Slobbe victims

Donna Baron and Laurie MacNeil were among Judith Slobbe’s many victims. They worked at a care home she defrauded of more than $700,000. (CBC News)

She stole more than $700,000 from a family-run care home in Richmond, B.C., before moving to Vancouver Island, where she conned money out of vulnerable seniors to support a lifestyle full of international cruises, flashy jewelry and Royal Doulton figurines.

“The denunciation in this case is simply a societal expression of anger and revulsion for the crimes committed by this accused as she defrauded her employer and her friends,” Fratkin said.

“The community has an interest in ensuring that the social norms are protected and not undermined by the deliberate sabotaging by some inveterate offender, such as Ms. Slobbe. The moral culpability of this particular offender resides at the higher end of the scale.”

‘High risk’ but released anyway

Despite previous minor convictions, Slobbe was a first-time federal offender at the time of her sentencing in 2010.

And because she was also convicted of a “non-violent” crime, she would have been eligible for accelerated parole after serving just one-sixth of her sentence.

But the Conservatives abolished the accelerated parole program in 2011.

Slobbe then became one of three prisoners who successfully argued in court that the new rules violated the rights of people sentenced before that date.

hi-supreme-court852

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in favour of Judith Slobbe’s right to accelerated parole, because she was sentenced before the program was abolished.

At the time of her court victory, one of Slobbe’s victims, Laurie MacNeil, told CBC News it was just a matter of time before she got in trouble again.

According to parole documents, Slobbe caused concerns while behind bars because of attempts to insert herself into the financial affairs of another inmate.

When it came time to consider release, all that mattered was risk for violence and so she was granted day parole first and then full parole.

“Such behaviour could not be determined and in spite of your lengthy criminal record, limited insight and high risk to reoffend, most likely in the area of fraud-related crime, you were released,” the parole decision said.

According to the latest documents, Slobbe was living with her elderly husband and staying active in her church when authorities stumbled onto the real estate deal in the summer. Her sentence included a restitution order for more than $750,000.

“In July 2016, without the knowledge of your parole supervisor, you and your husband entered into a contract to purchase a home valued at $2.9 million,” according to the parole document.

‘Emotionally vulnerable’ victim

An offer of $2.3 million was made with a promised deposit of $200,000.

The documents indicate Slobbe paid for a home inspection “to further give the appearance of legitimacy.”

But she allegedly stalled in closing the deal, cozying up to the elderly homeowner instead.

“Over a period of approximately six weeks, you visited the home on several occasions and had several meetings with the vendor who was emotionally vulnerable, due to the recent loss of his spouse,” the parole decision said.

“The vendor and his family have indicated that they may pursue civil action in relation to the $200,000 deposit and if successful they will forfeit the money to the victims of your index offences.”

According to the parole board documents, Slobbe said police told her lawyer they won’t be proceeding with charges.

She admitted to looking at homes with her husband, but said visiting the elderly homeowner with religious materials and coffee was her realtor’s idea.

Even though her full parole has been revoked, Slobbe is still eligible for statutory release with conditions, which include providing financial information to her parole supervisor, not being in a position of financial responsibility and no gambling.

The parole board did not return a call to confirm whether or not Slobbe is still in prison.

Article source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/parole-fraud-slobbe-financial-1.3862860?cmp=rss