A Langley man, sentenced in a $6-million fraud case on Monday, said he received death threats from a co-accused, who he claims has ties to the Hells Angels biker gang.
Kirk Roberts, 50, was given a two-year conditional sentence, including 18 months of strict house arrest, during a hearing in New Westminster Supreme Court this week. He was sentenced for his part in the Aggressive Roadbuilders fraud.
Roberts was a senior employee of Matt Brooks, the former owner of Aggressive Roadbuilders who, in 2017, was sentenced to three and a half years in prison for the scheme.
Back in 2007 and 2008, Aggressive Roadbuilders – a firm based in Langley – had a multi-million-dollar line of credit with ScotiaBank. But the line of credit was issued based on fraudulent documents claiming Aggressive was owed millions for road projects it had already completed.
In fact, despite building roads for communities including Delta, Surrey, Burnaby, Abbotsford, and Langley, Aggressive was owed a fraction of the total amount the company claimed. And when ScotiaBank called in auditors, the scheme rapidly unravelled in the summer of 2008.
Aggressive went bankrupt.
Although Roberts knowingly provided the bank with false documents, Justice Palbinder Shergill found that he deserved a lighter sentence – partly because “he was not the mastermind or the directing mind in this fraud.”
She noted his “grossly misdirected loyalty” to Brooks, his former boss.
The judge quoted a statement Roberts made in his pre-sentencing report about Brooks: “I would have run for cover if I knew then what I know now.”
Shergill also found that, aside from ongoing employment and a comfortable wage, Roberts received no material benefit from the fraud. He didn’t receive any part of the $6 million that went missing, and which has never been fully accounted for in the court proceedings for either Roberts or Brooks.
The $7-million line of credit from ScotiaBank was used by Aggressive to pay back an identical line of credit from their previous bank, RBC.
The court has also heard, during sentencing arguments, that Brooks “treated the business bank account as his own,” according to Roberts’ defence lawyer Ian Donaldson, withdrawing money and sometimes depositing money from non-business sources.
In his sentencing in 2017, Brooks’ lawyer mentioned a drive-by shooting at his Langley home in 2011. He claimed the tires of his vehicle were shot out in 2014, and various threats were made against him. He never said who was making the threats.
Roberts, too, was the target of threats, including at least one alleged death threat from Brooks, Shergill noted during her sentencing. He said he had received threatening phone calls at his home, threatening letters, and had seen cars parked outside his home. Two threats were reported to the police, the judge said.
Shergill noted claims by Roberts that Brooks is an associate of Hells Angels gang members.
Despite the claims of violence and intimidation made during both sentencing hearings, no one aside from Brooks and Roberts has ever been charged in relation to the fraud.
Shergill noted the fraud was a first offence for Roberts, who has not been convicted of any crime since the scheme broke down in 2008.
He had many letters of support from friends, family, and employees at the firm he currently runs, Blackrete Contracting – which continues to build roads for local municipal governments.
Roberts’ conditional sentence is a strict version of its kind. Rather than being behind bars, he will be confined to his Langley home for the first 18 months, only allowed to leave to complete his community service, or – with permission from a court-appointed supervisor – for a maximum of seven hours a week for reasons such as medical or dental visits.
For the final six months of his sentence, he will be under a curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.
If he violates the terms of his conditional sentence, it could be converted into a standard prison sentence.