Urthurton Phiri of Edmonton Sentenced to 10 Months Jail for Gems Fraud

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Staff Reporter, Canadian Fraud News Inc.

On January 20, 2023, the Alberta Court of Appeal upheld a 10 month jail sentence imposed by Justice Creagh in Edmonton against Zimbabwe immigrant Urthurton Phiri. The 10 month jail sentence resulted from a $15,00 fraud related to a gems investment that Mr. Phiri perpetrated on an Edmonton man.

Norman Groot of the fraud recovery firm Investigation Counsel PC advises that many Canadian fraud judgments are not published by the Courts. It is important that judgments such as these are published so that Canadians can conduct their own due diligence.

The judgment reports that Mr. Phiri was a middle man in a gems transaction with co-accused Sebulelo Moeketsi. The victim paid $15,000 for what he was told were valuable gems. The ‘gems’ were later found to be nothing more than landscaping rocks.

The judge held that a 10 month jail sentence was appropriate because fraud causes serious harm in our society; that fraud undermines the foundations of the economy by reducing commercial trust among our citizens; that fraud has a devastating impact on victims because of a betrayal of commercial trust.

Free economies require consequences for commercial dishonesty. Mr. Groot cites this case as an important decision as the Court in this case put the interests of responsibility in a free economy over the justification for dishonesty suggested by rogues – an important message during Canada’s Fraud Awareness Month.

The full judgment is published on CanLii at R v Phiri, 2023 ABCA 18. 2023 ABCA 18 (CanLII) | R v Phiri | CanLII.