Having been found guilty of trying to defraud two clients of close to $20,000, a former Regina mortgage broker will be spending weekends in jail for the next few months.
After trial, Joseph M. Siganski was convicted in December of five charges: Fraud over $5,000 and two counts each of forgery and uttering a forged document. The offences spanned a period of time between mid-February and mid-May 2010.
On Thursday, Siganski returned to Regina Court of Queen’s Bench for sentencing.
He had been hoping for a conditional sentence that would allow him to serve a jail term in the community. But, referring to Siganski’s actions as “blatant and deliberate,” Justice Janet McMurtry instead sentenced the 49-year-old man to 90 days in jail to be served intermittently.
“Mr. Siganski sought to take by fraud from the (complainants) a relatively small sum,” McMurtry said. “However, he has expressed no real remorse for, or acknowledgment of, the harm he has done. He has provided only excuses.”
Court previously heard that Siganski was working as a mortgage broker in Regina when, in early 2010, a fellow broker from Saskatoon asked Siganski and others for help for two Saskatoon clients who had, to that point, been unsuccessful in finding financing for the eight-unit apartment building they wished to buy.
On his colleague’s behalf, Siganski contacted the Fort Qu’Appelle regional office of Peace Hills Trust (PHT) to ask if the firm would be interested in financing that purchase. Court also heard a PHT manager told Siganski that her business did not pay broker fees, nor did it collect fees on behalf of brokers, meaning Siganski would have to deal directly with his client on that issue.
During the course of the transaction, Siganski altered letters of interest and commitment from PHT to the client, adding several words to each: “Lender Fee: To be 6% of funded amount.” That “fee” amounted to $19,125 of the authorized financing of $318,750.
The clients’ financing was halted when PHT and the Saskatoon broker learned Siganski had altered the letter of commitment. (The financing agreement was later revived without the involvement of Siganski.)
Siganski told the court his actions were intended to get a deal between PHT and the clients and get paid for his efforts. In finding Siganski guilty, McMurtry determined the former broker had “offered (to the court) a version of events that often defied common sense and belief.”
She found that Siganski altered the letters with the intention the clients believe it was PHT making the fee request in order to dupe the clients into paying him the $19,125 — less one per cent for his Saskatoon colleague. (That colleague was not involved in the offence.)
While McMurtry said the amount was relatively small, she added the offence was made more serious by the fact Siganski was in a position of trust. And with Siganski — who is reportedly a church-going family man — having stated he never set out to harm or deceive anyone, McMurtry said he has failed to recognize the harm he could have caused had the plan succeeded.
Siganski lost his broker’s licence in 2010 after this incident came to light.