An Oshawa couple have pleaded guilty to cheating on other churchgoers by falsely claiming that children in their care needed treatment for non-existent health problems, including cancer.
In a November 30 ruling, Ontario Court Judge Paul Burstein sentenced Robert Dale Laraby to three years in prison. His wife, Senna Marie Laraby, was sentenced to two years in prison. Both are given a three-year probationary period after their release and have to repay their victims or spend more time behind bars.
Earlier this year, the Larabys pleaded guilty to multiple frauds and admitted falsely claiming that children in their care were suffering from serious medical problems, soliciting donations from church parishes, charities and government agencies.
Among the victims were two sisters who are over 80 years old. It is estimated that the larabys they met through their church cheated on the women of about $ 650,000.
Charges against the Larabys stem from incidents dating back more than a decade, centered on scams the couple hatched with two children they had guardianship over, according to the Crown’s case.
Senna Laraby pleaded guilty to five cases of $ 5,000 and one $ 5,000 fraud case in June. Robert Laraby pleaded guilty to five cases of $ 5,000 fraud and one case of personal injury related to incidents involving one of the children.
A long-running program consisted of convincing others that one of the children had a variety of serious health problems, including cancer, that required hospital visits and specialized equipment, the court said.
The Larabys were targeting a ward at a church in Clarington, the court said. Church members included elderly sisters Marilynn Manuel and Beverly Rankil, who repeatedly donated money after being told that the Larabys needed money to complete the adoption process and for the high medical costs of a child.
During a conviction hearing in November, Manuel – who lost her savings along with her sister – condemned the Larabys for their “shameful” behavior.
“The Larabys are disgusting, deplorable, despicable people,” said Manuel.
In addition to imprisonment, the judge fined each of the Larabys more than $ 370,000. If the fine is not paid within five years of being released, the ruling indicates that a three-year prison term will be punished.