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CORNWALL – Disgraced financial advisor Gilles Saucier will be spending 15 months in jail and is banned for life from securities trading for defrauding his clients.
The 58-year-old former president of the now-defunct Gilden Financial Solutions was convicted earlier this year on multiple counts of fraud and forgery for shady investment dealings with 10 of his clients over a period of three years.
Saucier was supposed to be investing their money with London Life but was using it for himself. All the victims, in this case, got their money back after Saucier was confronted by each one.
In her decision Tuesday afternoon, Judge Laurie Lacelle said the breach of trust between Saucier and his vulnerable clients was “particularly troubling” given that he knew their life circumstances. She said the fraud was not particularly sophisticated but was “motivated by greed.”
Even though they got their money back, Lacelle said the victims were still hurt through a sense of distrust and suspicious for one client and another who had an ongoing medical condition.
Lacelle could not justify a sentence of more than two years since another local financial advisor, Gilles Latour, was convicted of similar circumstances and received a two year sentence. In Latour’s case, the clients didn’t get their money back. The prosecution had asked for a 2.5 year prison sentence.
The judge also could not agree to a conditional sentence that the defence had asked for and said that “considerable weight” had to be given toward a jail sentence because there was “no evidence of remorse” and Saucier had shown “no insight into his behaviour.”
Saucier, sitting in the public gallery on the other side of the room from his victims, showed no emotion and twiddled his thumbs in his lap as the sentence was read.
Judge Lacelle, again referring to Saucier’s lack of remorse, said a lifetime ban on securities trading was justified “to protect the public.”
After the court adjourned, some of the victims hugged and spoke with Crown attorney Michael Purcell.
Another fraud case in the wings
The story is not over for Gilles Saucier as another court case is in the wings.
Yvon and Francine Viau were in the courtroom to see Tuesday’s decision. They are alleged victims in a separate case to be heard next Thursday (June 20).
The Viaus fraud claim is for $20,000 but they say they lost a lot more – around $164,000. The couple say they are among eight victims.
“I’m really happy (with the decision) and I’m just waiting for the next court case,” Francine said. “Next court case should be (a) bigger sentence,” Yvon added.
“I’m just glad that he didn’t have a smirk on his face. Usually, he always has this little smirk on his face but today the smirk was taken off,” Francine said.
“This judge seemed to be on the ball,” Yvon said.
He said that times are changing and the penalties associated with fraud need to be changing too. “Fraud seems to be easier to do and people seem to be getting away with it more and I’m hoping people are going to read this and scare them,” he said.
The couple wish more victims would set aside their worries about the stigma of being a victim and come forward to seek justice.