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Man guilty of fraud has outstanding warrants in Florida

A St. Albert man who was sentenced to house arrest for numerous counts of fraud has a past history of writing bad cheques and is wanted on three arrest warrants in Florida.

A St. Albert man who was sentenced to house arrest for numerous counts of fraud has a past history of writing bad cheques and is wanted on three arrest warrants in Florida. Craig Archibald Ayers, 52, was handed a two-year conditional sentence order in St. Albert provincial court on Dec. 4 after pleading guilty to 28 counts related to a rental scam, including 16 victims who were promised the same townhouse. Before moving to St. Albert, Ayers lived in Florida where he was charged with several counts of writing bad cheques. In 2006 a warrant was issued for his arrest for one charge of fraudulent use of a credit card and one charge of theft under $300. In 2008 a warrant was issued for his arrest for two counts of grand theft in the third degree. According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office the warrants are still outstanding. When he was sentenced in St. Albert court last week the court Ayers escaped jail time, largely because his crimes were seen to be out of character. His previous record from Florida was not presented in court. Along with his arrest warrants, Ayers faced other charges while he lived in Florida. In 2000, Ayers was charged with three counts of obtaining property using a worthless cheque. In one instance where he was charged with writing a bad cheque he was ordered to pay $4,500 in restitution to the victim. In Alberta, Ayers only has one charge on his record. In 2013 Ayers committed theft over $5,000. In February 2015 Ayers was handed a suspended sentence with two years of probation and he was ordered to pay $8,500 in restitution. After court, prosecutor Damien Rogers said that the sentence was agreed upon because of the poor mental state of Ayers when the offences were committed along with Ayers having a very limited criminal record before the 2016 frauds. The first eight months of the St. Albert sentence he was handed on Dec. 4 will involve house arrest. After that Ayers will have to abide by a strict curfew. As part of his sentence Ayers will have to pay back $30,000 in restitution to his victims over the next three years.

Victim reacts

A man, who did not want to be named for fear of reprisals, said that he was able to occupy the home that Ayers was promising to so many other tenants. The man said that after paying Ayers a damage deposit and two months rent he was able to move into the townhouse. At the time, Ayers was not legally allowed to rent out the townhouse because it was owned by his girlfriend. When Ayers’ girlfriend found out that the man and his pregnant wife were living there she tried to evict the duo. While living at the house the man said that many of the other victims of rental scam would show up to his home hoping to move in. “This guy ruined a lot of people’s lives,” the man said. The man said that one person who had been promised the house was a young girl who had a panic attack on his front step. She had told her previous landlord that she was moving out and had all her possessions packed in a U-Haul. She came to the house the day before she was supposed to move in and realized that she would not be able to live there. The man said that the people who showed up to his door were “just devastated” and many of them were crying. Another woman, who the man estimated to be in her fifties, showed up to his door with all of her possessions in the back of a truck expecting to move in. Once she realized she couldn’t occupy the townhouse she was homeless and had to move in with her children. “He put people on the street … and he didn’t care,” the man said. “It was really sad.”

Jennifer Henderson

About the Author: Jennifer Henderson

Jennifer Henderson joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2016. She writes about municipal, provincial and federal politics; court and crime; general news and features.
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