PNE mainstay says she lost life savings to fraudster
Published Monday, August 15, 2011 6:25PM PDT
More alleged victims of a B.C. man accused of faking cancer to bilk people out of $2 million are coming forward, saying he played on their emotions to drain their savings.
Douglas Archie Clark, 64, appeared in a Port Coquitlam courtroom Monday, when a judge postponed a bail hearing as he awaits trial on 13 counts of fraud for allegedly scamming more than 40 victims.
Marjorie Lovatt, a PNE fixture who has sold Aunt Margie's Fudge for 55 years, says her savings evaporated when she met Clark.
"Every time he got some money from me, he'd say, ‘Don't worry about it, I'll have it all back for the weekend.' The weekend lasted two years," Lovatt told CTV News.
She says Clark claimed he needed money for a cancer treatment, and in the two years after her husband died, she gave him $250,000.
"Poor guy, he needs some more money. I'd better help him, because he was going down to the States and needed $3,000 every time he went down there," she says to describe her reasoning.
Lovatt says she can't even afford groceries and will have to declare bankruptcy. However, her allegations against Clark aren't included in the current charges against him.
Investigators say that Clark often posed as a retired admiral in the Canadian Navy, now struggling to pay the bills for cancer medication and experimental treatments.
He stood silently in court on Monday as several alleged victims gathered to watch proceedings. Nearly all of the suspected targets in attendance say they gave him money on the understanding that they were paying for his wife's funeral.
"I guess we've buried her a few times," said Pat Stephen, who estimates he gave Clark $211,000. "She's still alive, apparently."
Clark's former friend and business partner Chuck Gale says he lost a total of $25,000.
"We've known him for a long time, so we didn't think of it as a potential fraud. At the time, it was a friend in need," Gale said outside the court.
The alleged targets believe the money went to the casino, and police are still on the hunt for more victims.
"Don't be afraid to step forward. Step out here and let people know," Gale said.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Jon Woodward