A man who stole money from a hockey association and the parents of bantam-age hockey players has been sentenced to one year in jail, but was set free the day of his sentencing because he’d already served the time.
Loren Reagan and his former business partner Michael Gordon Elphicke created the Okanagan Elite Hockey Association in Penticton, B.C., in 2010 with the intent of sending hockey players and their parents on a tour of Europe.
The court heard Monday that families paid $5,500 per traveller for the European tour, minus the amounts they raised by selling raffle tickets for meat draws, which were operated without the required gaming licence.
Court heard the hockey association collected $130,000 in trip deposits and raffle proceeds between July 2011 and January 2012, but only $15,000 of that money went toward the European hockey tour.
Reagan’s three-week trial was scheduled to begin Monday morning in Kelowna, but instead the Crown and defence presented a joint submission and Reagan pleaded guilty to theft over $5,000.
The Crown and defence proposed a jail sentence of time served, followed by two years’ probation and a standalone restitution order of $80,000 to the 16 families that fell victim to his theft.
Reagan has spent eight months and eight days in jail, totalling 12 months and 12 days with enhanced credit.
He was arrested in Calgary in March after failing to show up for trial in 2017.
British Columbia Supreme Court Justice Mark McEwan accepted the joint submission, but expressed frustration at the jail sentence.
“I am not happy with the length of this term,” he said. “This seems to be very slight for what he’s done.”
Reagan and Elphicke were accused of fraud over $5,000, theft over $5,000 and unauthorized management of a lottery scheme.
Elphicke was sentenced earlier this year to two years’ house arrest followed by three years’ probation and was ordered to pay $117,000 in restitution to the 16 families.
The charges of fraud and unauthorized management of a lottery scheme against Reagan were stayed by the Crown following sentencing.
Reagan is not required to report to a probation officer, and he is not permitted to work or volunteer in any capacity that involves fundraising during his probation.
He addressed the court Monday, expressing his remorse.
“I’d like to apologize for the circumstances,” Reagan said. “It was poor management on my part and I regret that dearly.”
The intent to put on the European trip was genuine, defence counsel Kim Russell said in court.
“This was not a scheme that was devised from the outset to bilk the complainants of their money,” he said.
The reason the trip never happened was because Reagan and Elphicke were not good businessmen, said Russell.
Reagan was also involved in a plan to build a dormitory for hockey academy students in Penticton.
“That’s where a large part of the theft arises, is the use of funds from the (hockey association) towards the dorm project for permits and various expenses related to that,” said Russell. “And that was unbeknownst to the parents.”
The dorm project consumed $40,000 of the money paid and raised by parents, while $20,000 was used by Elphicke for personal use, and $30,000 to $40,000 for Reagan’s personal use.
Andrea Peacock, The Canadian Press