A 61-year-old man is sentenced to eight months imprisonment for conning people for his own personal gain, an offence which he was previously convicted of.
Joshua Collen Torsen was charged with one count of causing loss by deception contrary to section 125 (c) of the Penal Code [Cap 135].
This offence carries a maximum penalty of 12 months imprisonment.
The defendant obtained Vt168,000 from the complainant in 2012.
The money was advanced so that Mr. and Mrs. Torsen could travel to Australia in relation to accompanying members of their church to become farm workers.
He claimed to be an agent, licensed by the Department of Labour, who was finding and sending workers to Australia.
That travel, however, did not happen.
The court heard that there was never a prospect that Mr. Torsen would travel, as his license had expired in 2011 and was not renewed.
He had therefore obtained the money well knowing it could not be used for the stated purpose and would be used for other personal purposed.
It was revealed in court that Torsen was convicted of a similar offence in the past.
In 1998, he was convicted of three similar matters, sentenced to 7 months imprisonment, and ordered to pay reparation of Vt500,000.
In three separate cases in 1999, one in March, two in August, Torsen was convicted of three further similar acts and sentenced to 10 months imprisonment as understood.
He was also ordered to pay reparation of Vt227,800 and Vt10,000 costs.
Torsen cooperated with Police, was remorseful for his actions and no further offending has been reported since this event in 2012. He also repaid Vt67,000 to the complainant of this case.
The defendant’s end sentence is 8 months imprisonment.
In his analysis, Supreme Court Justice G.A. Andree Wiltens noted that despite Torsen’s personal issues with his health (he has had a stroke, has diabetes and has had a leg amputated) and inability to work, suspension of the sentencing would be wrong.
The Judge noted also that despite the significant lapse of time since his previous convictions, this is still his 7th conviction involving dishonesty.
Wiltens also considered Torsen’s unfortunate financial situation and prospects could provide a real temptation to relapse, and that must be deterred, and the community protected, therefore, no suspended sentence was awarded.