Edmonton: A change in Parole eligibility for a local man convicted of fraud may not sit well with more than 50 of his victims.
Last April, 60-year old Jerry Russell Johnson was sentenced to 13-years in prison for defrauding those victims of more than $2.4-million in a phony investment scheme. The sentence was one year short of the maximum, and higher than the Crown's suggested 8-10 year term.
At the time of the sentence, Justice Patrick Sullivan described it as "a game changing case". In addition to the 13-years, Justice Sullivan also put a restitution order in place, meaning as soon as Johnson gets out of prison those victims who asked for the order can go after him for their money, even if he goes into bankruptcy. It was noted that police were never able to locate some of the money taken from investors.
Before sentencing, 19 victim impact statements all commented that they find it hard to trust anyone anymore. Several also stated that they've had to put off retirement or take on a second or even third job to help pay off debts built up when Johnson's scam fell apart. A large number also explained that the stress of having to deal with the issue has caused numerous medical conditions.
Johnson filed an appeal and last December 16th the Alberta Court of Appeal reduced his sentence by three-years. That means his parole eligibility is also adjusted, as per the Corrections and Conditional Release Act.
In a statement to Country 95 News, the National Parole Board confirmed Johnson will now be able to apply for:
Unescorted Temporary Absences -- December 5, 2011.
Day Parole -- February 5, 2013
Full Parole -- August 5, 2013
Statutory Release -- December 5, 2016
The Parole Board of Canada will make a decision in this matter in accordance with the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, as to whether or not Johnson will be released on parole. A decision would be made following a thorough review of his file and risk assessment, with the protection of society as paramount consideration.
While offenders have to apply for for consideration for Day Parole, the Corrections and Conditional Release Act allows consideration for Full parole automatically, unless the offender waives the right to this review.
Statutory release is a legislated form of conditional release available to most offenders serving a definite sentence. It allows the offender to serve the remaining one-third of his sentence in the community under supervision, with conditions imposed by the Parole Board