Judge accepts statement of facts in former real estate agent’s theft, fraud and forgery case
Former St. John's realtor Anne Squires says what happened in her Exit Realty on the Rock office that led to the theft, fraud, forgery and breach of trust charges levelled against her was her responsibility.
And what happened, according to an agreed statement of facts presented in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador Monday, shows a litany of offences occurring between July 2014 and February 2016 and involving more than $600,000.
The offences included: Squires submitting documents to Access Easy Funds Ltd. (a company that provides commission advances to Canadian real estate agents before the deals close) for commissions on property that she was not listed as the agent; submitting documents to the company for advance commissions on property that had not been sold by her; submitting documents on lots that had yet to be developed and/or that did not exist; submitting receipts for deposits on property that were fraudulent; submitting fraudulent letters of financing approval from Mortgage Doctors (the trade name for Vertico Doctors Financial Services Inc. that Squires was the sole director of); submitting purchase and sale agreements with forged signatures and initials; and instructing her office manager to make up excuses to Access Easy Funds for the failure to remit commissions on sales for commissions that had been advanced.
“I accept full responsibility for anything and everything that happened inside my doors,” Squires told Justice Robert Stack, after he had entered convictions to the charges. “The company was my responsibility and I take it 100 per cent.”
A sentencing hearing for Squires, who pleaded guilty in April to the charges, has been set for Dec. 19. Defence lawyer Randy Piercey asked that a pre-sentence report be prepared.
In the meantime, Squires will remain free, but bound by several conditions including that she report to police once per week, surrender her passport, stay within the province, reside at her home in Twillingate and report to police any change of address.
Exit Realty on the Rock went into receivership in February 2016 after the government pulled its real estate licence. Squires was charged at the end of that year, following a 10-month police investigation.
The statement of facts notes that on Feb. 24, 2016 a police investigator contacted Access Easy Funds and was advised they were owed a substantial amount of money. The company had been dealing with Squires for a number of years, but said at that time that “in the last year or so, Anne Squires had fallen behind in payments.”
In November 2016, a special review was completed by the Office of the Comptroller General, Professional Services and Internal Audit Division for the province at the request of the RNC.
According to the statement of facts, the office traced 33 purchase/sales commission advances received from Access Easy Funds to a deposit in Exit Realty’s operating account from September 2015 to December 2015, and confirmed that the advances had not been repaid. The total was $385,898.
Between January and February 2016, the office determined commission advances of $106,428 were received and deposited in a Reddy Kilowatt Credit Union account in Squires’ name.
With interest, the amount totals $634,386, Crown prosecutor Arnold Hussey said Monday.