The owner of an Airdrie company has been convicted of fraud, theft and misrepresentation for failing to pay more than $3 million to nearly 50,000 clients over a four-year period.
Bradley O’Neil, 55, owned International Tax Refund Services (ITRS) between 1999 and 2003. ITRS promised to help tourists get GST refunds.
O’Neil was to deposit cheques from Canada Revenue Agency and remit the amount, less prescribed fees and services, to the client within days.
Instead, O’Neil used the money to expand his business, at a time when tourism was down, and pay ongoing expenses for his company.
Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Earl Wilson found O’Neil guilty on June 8.
Crown prosecutor Photini Papadatou would not say how much prison time she would be seeking at sentencing on Sept. 10, but that it would be more than two years.
Defence lawyer Brian Beresh argued his client acted properly throughout and that, at the very least, the Crown hadn’t sufficiently proven its case.
Both lawyers will make their sentencing arguments to Wilson in September.
O’Neil will remain free on bail until then, but the court ordered him to surrender his passport to Airdrie RCMP.