Watch above: A man who swindled 36 people out of nearly $2.4M is going to prison for seven years. Fletcher Kent spoke to several victims following the decision.
(UPDATE: August 14, 2014 – An Appeal Court justice has denied bail to an Edmonton-area RV fraudster who is appealing his conviction for bilking people out of more than $2 million. The justice says Arnold Donszelmann of Millet is a risk to society who doesn’t deserve to go free until his court challenge is heard.)
EDMONTON – A Millet-area man who defrauded 36 customers through his RV rental business was sentenced to seven years in prison.
Arnold Donszelmann also must pay restitution of $2.3 million.
In June, a jury found Donszelmann guilty of 31 counts of fraud over $5,000.
Customers of Leisure RV Rentals Ltd in Millet – many of them seniors – were sold recreational vehicles to be enrolled in a rental program.
Customers later found out the company never had title to the motorhomes, and that they had taken out loans to pay for RVs they may never have owned.
On Thursday, Donszelmann told court his business grew faster than expected and he hired family and friends to accommodate that growth. In hindsight, he said, he should have hired qualified staff instead.
“I hear and absolutely acknowledge the hurt this has caused and for that I am truly sorry,” Donszelmann told court.
One couple who was victimized by Donszelmann appeared in court Thursday and Friday, and the rest of the victims made their victim impact statements in May.
“Wonderful. It’s a great day. He’s going away for seven years. Super,” said Beryle Pledge, one of Donszelmann’s victims.
She was happy with the sentence.
“I think it’s very fitting… They could have given him three to five and he got seven.”
Beryle and her husband Stan bought two motorhomes from Donszelmann. Because of the fraud, Stan, 67, had to return to work as a truck driver after being retired for just one year.
“He doesn’t even have a heart that man.
“I’d be ashamed to even show my face,” added Stan. “I hope he has a rough time in there.”
Still, he’s unsure if he’ll see any of the restitution money.
“If I get anything, $20, I’ll smile. I don’t see I’ll see the $110,000.”
“There’s not such a thing as retirement … We just go day to day.”
The Pledges have paid off one motorhome and say the other is almost paid off. Beryle has continued to work at her job in Nisku.
“He deserves everything he gets, plus,” said Stan.
This article was originally published on July 11, 2014. It was updated on August 14.
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