Gilles Latour gets two years in federal pen

In this Oct. 22, 2012, file photo, Gilles Latour makes a presentation to Cornwall city council. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL – Gilles Latour has been sentenced to two years in a federal penitentiary for defrauding eight clients of nearly $1.3 million over the course of several years.

Latour, 52, had pleaded guilty in February to eight counts of fraud and one count of using a forged document. He has been representing himself during the latter part of the proceedings.

Two years is the mandatory minimum sentence for fraud where the amount is over $1 million. But it is on the low end of the scale, considering the maximum sentence is 14 years in prison.

It’s a fall from grace almost four years in the making for the formerly-certified financial adviser, insurance broker and principal of Latour Wealth Management Inc., who was originally charged in September 2014.

Judge Rick Leroy heard submissions on the sentence this morning (Thursday) before taking a half hour to collect his thoughts and deliver the sentence.

Latour told the judge that he’s married with two children, ages 15 and 11, and has been unemployed for 3.5 years. He said he applied “for over 120 positions” but the “storm of media” made it impossible for him to successfully secure a job.

He was “extremely disappointed, very remorseful” and wanted to “get the restitution done as soon as possible.”

Following the half hour break, Judge Leroy delivered his decision.

He said Latour was involved in a “Ponzi scheme” and had never invested money from the clients, but had used it for personal use. Some of those investors included his mother and brother.

Leroy said Latour was “presented as a leader in this community” and using the backdrop of Team Cornwall “compounds” the “serious breach of trust” in this case.

The judge also found it “troubling” about the level of planning in Latour’s scheme and that he had been embezzling money for nothing more than personal gain.

While Latour has no criminal record and this is his first brush with the law, Leroy said that was “tempered by the seriousness of the offences.”

The judge agreed with Crown attorney Andre White, saying the only mitigating factor in this case was an early plea, saving the court and the “vulnerable witnesses” from a lengthy trial – possibly a month – and a costly financial forensic report.

In addition to his two year prison sentence, Latour will be on probation for three years where he will have to abide by a number of conditions, including a no-contact order with the victims.

Half of the victims have been reimbursed, court heard. A restitution order is in place for four victims for a total of $951,750 to be paid by March 29, 2022. There is also a victim fine surcharge of $1,800, which Latour has four years to pay.

Once he’s out, Latour will also have to perform 240 hours of community service, the maximum community service sentence allowed.

Latour, with a close-cropped salt-and-pepper haircut and wearing a dark grey suit, did not say anything after the sentence before he was led into the cell block by an officer.

There were a handful of people in the gallery – mostly family – who declined to comment outside the courtroom.