Built to Perfection

Fraudster who orchestrated sports investment scams deserves 7-year sentence, Crown says

The Crown is searching for a 7-year prison time period for an Alberta man who employed bogus connections in the hockey earth to orchestrate a sequence of fraudulent athletics expense strategies that expense his victims additional than $1.7 million.

Nickolas Ellis is awaiting sentencing just after being identified responsible in Edmonton Courtroom of King’s Bench on eight counts of fraud over $5,000, a few counts of trafficking in solid documents and three counts of id fraud.

Ellis, 52, engineered a series of elaborate frauds, frequently using his purported connections to present-day and retired NHL gamers, including the late New York Islanders great Mike Bossy.

His crimes, which took location involving February 2016 and March 2019, involved eight victims.

Ellis defrauded friends, co-personnel and neighbours, employing phony emails, fabricated meetings and solid paperwork to lend legitimacy to his projects.

He was located responsible in January. As of Wednesday he had paid no restitution.

‘Pure greed’ 

In courtroom on Wednesday, Crown prosecutor Thomas O’Leary said Ellis should be completely deprived of the “ill-gotten gains” of his crimes.

“His steps can be explained as predatory,” O’Leary reported. “In conditions of the seriousness of the offences, it can be very high.”

Justice John Henderson, who explained Ellis’s crimes as a “residence of cards,” is envisioned to hand down a sentence in June.

O’Leary stated the crimes have been calculated and inspired by “pure greed.”

Ellis utilised the proceeds of his frauds to fund a lavish life-style — extensive travel, luxury automobiles and significant-priced collectibles, the prosecutor explained.

“He lived really easily, and did so off the backs of his victims.” 

The Crown is looking for a “fines in lieu of forfeiture” order, utilised in conditions when house or income received via a fraud can not be observed or recovered. If a fraudster doesn’t pay back that total, the court can impose a fantastic that reflects the amount fraudulently obtained.

Such orders appear with a danger of jail time. If imposed, Ellis could be incarcerated if a potential court docket decides he has refused to pay out within just the sanctioned timeline, with out sensible excuse.

The Crown is also looking for a 15-yr ancillary trust prohibition get. It would prohibit Ellis from obtaining authority about finances, property or investments when looking for potential work or volunteer work.

The Crown further more asks that $21,000 seized from Ellis by Edmonton police be surrendered for redistribution amongst the victims.

The proposed sentence is severe but required, O’Leary mentioned. 

Ellis was an knowledgeable businessman who understood the severity of his crimes but ongoing to take money from his victims “since he could,” he explained. 

“Ellis carefully picked his victims, people closest to him.”

Ellis, putting on a checked shirt, black down vest and blue jeans for his court overall look Wednesday, stared straight ahead whilst sufferer impression statements have been read through — two from adult males who once regarded him a good friend.

The adult males wrote that the frauds have left them struggling with their psychological and bodily well being.  Each wrote that they remain haunted by his betrayal, their finances gutted and options for retirement shattered.

The largest of Ellis’s schemes was known as the Dynasty Job — a team he claimed was manufactured up of himself and latest or former NHL gamers.

The pitch associated the meant development of a sporting activities application for NHL admirers. Buyers were being promised millions or billions of bucks in returns on the closing of the sale to Microsoft.

Ellis applied correspondence with fictional legal professionals — and email messages from a pretend account in Bossy’s identify — to include legitimacy to the scheme.

‘The Gretzky Project’

The 2nd-greatest plan, recognised as the Reebok Jersey program, promised to acquire edge of the NHL’s change from Reebok to Adidas jerseys in 2017.

Ellis informed traders that, many thanks to his connections in the NHL, he experienced an possibility to order much more than 1,000 jerseys that could be repackaged and sold for revenue.

In one more plan, recognized as The Gretzky Challenge, Ellis claimed to have a distribution deal with athletics memorabilia company Upper Deck for confined-problem Wayne Gretzky items.

Ellis took “very limited accountability for his steps” when he was interviewed for a pre-sentence report, the report suggests.

He felt like his victims “however have anything” though he had “very little,” he told his interviewer.

“He explained himself as the ‘middle man’ when discussing the offence, and claimed he ‘felt like a pawn,'” the report says.

According to the report, Ellis is $300,000 in financial debt and has no belongings. He said he now earns about $1,500 a thirty day period in funds for acquisition function.

“The subject matter suggested restitution would be ‘a challenging tablet to swallow’ but would be ready to comply,” the pre-sentence report says.

The defence will make submissions for sentencing afterwards this thirty day period.