TRURO, N.S. – A Wentworth man who tried to escape to the United States after his criminal activities became known was sentenced to 90 days in jail on Monday.
Jason Keith Giddens, 43, was convicted of multiple counts of fraud totalling $22,718, as well as for bigamy and forging documents.
He received the 90-day intermittent jail sentence for defrauding a man of $8,300 by selling him worthless shares in a non-existent company.
Giddens was also placed on a 300-day conditional sentence order, which is to begin after his jail term, for the other crimes.
During sentencing, Judge Warren Zimmer described Giddens’s criminal activity as being “callous and calculated.”
Giddens had set up an “elaborate” but fabricated power-point presentation and forged documents in an effort to sell fraudulent company shares to his victims.
While the majority of the shares were sold in lots valued at $2,500, one victim paid Giddens $2,738 while another was taken for $8,300.
Giddens also pled guilty to forging divorce papers from a previous marriage so that he could marry Danielle Pinkney of Truro in a ceremony that took place in Maine.
During a previous hearing, the court heard how Giddens had cleaned out a bank account and travelled to New Brunswick where he unsuccessfully attempted to enter the United States on foot.
On Monday, Zimmer suggested Giddens had failed in his pre-sentence report to accept full responsibility for his criminal actions.
“The report certainly gave me the impression that Mr. Giddens was rationalizing much of his behaviour in actually downplaying his responsibility,” Zimmer said. “To suggest that he decided to get away and went for a hike for a few days when he was found out in relation to fraud, is in my view a gross mis-understatement. I heard that he cleaned out a bank account, hitchhiked to New Brunswick and then tried to enter the United States without a passport. That in my view is not taking a hike for a few days.”
Giddens is to serve his jail term from noon on Saturdays until 8 p.m. Sundays and must adhere to a probation order during that period.
Once his conditional sentence begins, Giddens is subject to house arrest on a 24/7 basis, with the exception of being outside his residence to work and specified other times, including such things as medical or legal appointments.
Those conditions will remain in effect for the first 200 days. For the remaining 100 days, Giddens will be subject to a daily curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
He is also banned from possessing or using alcohol or illicit drugs and is not permitted to enter any establishment where alcohol is sold as a primary source of business.
Giddens was further ordered to take mental health counselling as directed and must begin making $150-per month restitution payments to his victims.