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Immigration board doubts Durkin was “unsuspecting dupe” in ponzi scheme, orders deportation
The man at the centre of our story The Man Who Stole a Hotel has been found inadmissible to Canada due to organized criminality. A deportation order against Timothy Craig Durkin was issued on Jan. 18.
It’s the second major decision concerning Durkin that authorities have made this month. On Tuesday, the British Columbia Securities Commission ruled that he had defrauded an investor of $1 million dollars.
Durkin was born in the UK in 1951. His family moved to Canada when he was a baby, and he became a permanent resident in May 1952. He grew up in Edmonton and Alberta and spent much of his adult life outside of Canada.
In 2013, a grand jury in Alabama indicted him and three associates on charges related to a Ponzi scheme. Durkin moved to Canada a few months before the indictment and did not return to the US to face the charges. His associates were convicted in a US federal court and sentenced to 60 months in prison. US prosecutors dropped the charges against Durkin last year because of issues with jurisdiction and witness availability.
Durkin thought that might work to his advantage in Canada. He was wrong.
“I do not accept Mr. Durkin’s submission that the charges being dropped should impact the Minister’s admissibility proceeding,” IRB member Trent Cook wrote in his decision, first reported on by the Times Colonist on Thursday. “A criminal conviction is not a required element for a finding of inadmissibility.”
Although Durkin attempted to distance himself from the Ponzi scheme, saying he didn’t know it was occurring, Cook accepted the immigration minister’s evidence and called Durkin “a hearty participant whose role was critical to the scheme’s success.” The evidence included the US Attorney’s case summary, an FBI special agent’s grand jury testimony, a US appeals court’s findings, and the overall success of the case against Durkin’s associates.
Cook added, “Mr. Durkin’s business experience is extensive and varied. The likelihood of him being an unsuspecting dupe in a Ponzi scheme happening under his nose is very low.”
Cook issued the deportation order after concluding that he had “reasonable grounds to believe that Mr. Durkin engaged in a pattern of criminal activity on behalf of a criminal organization.” A US court of appeals determined that victims were defrauded of more than $1.5 million. In Canada, a conviction for fraud in excess of $5,000 carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison.
Durkin could not be reached for comment.