NANAIMO — A Nanaimo man has admitted to bilking several women out of thousands of dollars in a series of high-profile scams.
Jordan Shepherd, 34, pleaded guilty to all seven counts of theft under $5,000 he faced for defrauding seven women out of a combined $13,200 last year.
A two-and-a-half hour sentencing hearing immediately followed the plea Wednesday afternoon in Provincial Court in Nanaimo.
Crown prosecutor Kendra Waugh outlined each incident, most of them arising from Shepherd meeting the victims through online dating sites.
In all of the cases Shepherd told the women he needed to borrow money and asked them to cash cheques from a non-existent company called On the Rocks Surveying. Shepherd would then pocket the money and not pay his victims back.
Court heard in one instance in Nanaimo last May, Shepherd told a woman he was unable to access his bank account because his brother had his debit card. Shepherd wrote the woman a $1,600 cheque, which was deposited into her account. Waugh said the victim had eight cents in her account at the time, but was able to withdraw the full $1,600 and give it to Shepherd because of overdraft protection.
“She never saw him again,” Waugh told Court.
The victim's bank later contacted her to say she was responsible for paying back the money. Waugh said the woman faced additional hardship as the bank took her $600 Child Benefit Tax Credit.
In another incident, a woman cashed one of Shepherd's phony cheques and gave him $1,000 last August.
The woman pressed Shepherd for the money through a series of text messages over the course of a week. The messages were read in court.
“I'm super in the negative now with no overdraft, I'm freaking. Please tell me you didn't totally scam me, I'll feel like such a retard. I've got to buy stuff for my kids for school tonight,” she texted.
Shepherd reminded the woman he didn't have his wallet, which was left in his brother's truck.
“This is definitely horrifying for a single mom of two whose ex-husband owes over $7,000 in child support, so how can any of this be fixed, like now.”
In one of the final exchanges between the two, she heightened her plea, asking Shepherd why he'd scam a single mom.
Shepherd responded by saying he had been at Vancouver General Hospital for the past few days with his son who had a blood clot in his brain. Shepherd also said he was having trouble contacting his brother.
Shepherd's lawyer Peter Hertzberg confirmed the story involving his son in hospital was a lie.
Another victim said her mortgage payment bounced and she didn't know how she would feed her dog.
A victim from New Westminster said Shepherd asked her to invest in a pyramid scheme, but she didn't feel good about it and declined.
Despite the encounter, she later lost $3,200 to Shepherd's fake cheque scam.
Shepherd also pleaded guilty to driving while prohibited and was issued an automatic one-year driving ban and $500 fine.
He sat handcuffed in a red prison jump suit with his head down for most of Wednesday's hearing.
Sentencing will continue at a later date when the Crown is slated to present four victim impact statements and defence submissions will be made.
The Crown is seeking an 18-month jail sentence, while the defence is calling for a non-custodial (conditional) sentence.
Waugh said a restitution agreement is in place for Shepherd to pay the victims back the $13,200 they're owed.
Judge Ron Lamperson said there is a fair likelihood Shepherd could be eligible for a conditional sentence, noting the punishment is common in cases involving theft under $200,000.
Shepherd was arrested on March 1 while sleeping in a car outside a Nanaimo motel after a much-publicized Canada-wide warrant was issued.
Shepherd was transported back to the Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre in Victoria where he remains in custody.
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