Windsor judge orders Leamington fraudster to pay $100K restitution

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It took a very long time for the long arm of the law to reach out and serve up justice in a Leamington business fraud case.

More than 20 years after being charged with defrauding a Leamington auto parts retailer, David Southam was recently sentenced to a 12-month conditional sentence.

While avoiding jail, Southam was handed a standalone restitution order in the amount of $99,958.45, payable to NAPA Auto Parts in Leamington.

That amount, however, comes on top of $85,000 previously deposited in trust, set aside and since surrendered to help repay the business for losses incurred between May 1997 and July 2003.

“I’m happy this is over,” defence lawyer Dan Scott told the Windsor Star.

Scott was Southam’s attorney at a 2003 preliminary hearing, but his client subsequently disappeared ahead of a scheduled trial in 2005 when he was set to fight the charges. A local judge issued a warrant for the fugitive’s arrest.

Fast-forward to 2019, when Ontario Provincial Police pulled over a motorist for speeding in northern Ontario and officers discovered there’d been an arrest warrant on the unanswered fraud charges.

At the time of the original charges, Southam had been running the Leamington business, which also retailed vehicle accessories.

At an appearance on March 14 before Superior Court Justice Maria Carroccia, Southam pleaded guilty to a single criminal count, that he “did by deceit, falsehood or other fraudulent means defraud UAP/NAPA Auto Supply of property exceeding $5,000.”

Two other counts related to fraud were withdrawn by the Crown at the time of last month’s guilty plea.

Scott said his client has returned to the north.

The judge’s standalone restitution order, he said, means that Southam’s future earnings can be garnisheed until the balance of the monies owing are repaid.

This article was originally sourced from www.WindsorStar.com