Federal Liberals meet Jones clients
Published Friday, August 28, 2009 5:36PM EDT
Former clients of unregistered financial planner Earl Jones continued their political lobbying on Friday by meeting with members of the Federal Liberal party.
The alleged victims, fresh off a meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Thursday, discussed the issue of white-collar crime with Liberal MPs Denis Coderre and Dominic LeBlanc.
Also present was Liberal candidate and financial-crimes expert Michel Picard.
The M-P's presented their plan for white-collar criminals, which includes longer prison terms, hiring more police to investigate fraud, and possibly giving victims a tax break.
Coderre says fraud victims have probably paid taxes they should not have.
"Who knows how many times they paid on virtual income so this is issues we should take a look at."
The Liberals also took the opportunity to attack their political adversaries, accusing Harper's Conservatives of dragging their heels on the issue of financial fraud.
"It's madness to see that these criminals can ruin the lives of honest Canadians and then are given ridiculously short sentences," Coderre told a news conference at the Montreal exchange tower.
"The Conservatives are doing nothing about it - Canadians deserve better, and Liberals will do better."
Clients feeling stress
Jones is accused of bilking his clients out of more than $50 million, and Karlene Kennedy is one of many who think they will never get their money back.
"I'm slowly coming to accept that it's really happened," said Kennedy.
She says the stress of keeping up with taxes and bill payments is taking its toll
"You get up in the morning it's there, you go to bed at night it's there," said Kennedy.
Leblanc said that while tougher sentences are part of the solution, victims would also be helped by more aggressive investigations of alleged fraudsters.
Former clients of Earl Jones have formed a national association to help people across Canada who have lost money in financial scandals.
The coalition has been pushing governments for tougher penalties and a single national stock-market regulator.
But not all financial victims are convinced politicians will follow through on their promises.
Investors rights advocate Ermanno Pascutto points out that four years ago, when other financial scandals broke, politicians at the time were also calling for tougher laws.
"The Portis, the Norshield, the Norbourg, and Mount Real cases, I don't think in any of these cases anyone is actually in jail at this point," said Pascutto.