Fishy deals land Burnaby fraudster in jail for third time

A photo taken of Arthur Wong in 2009, when he was working as the financial controller of Unique Accommodations, a North Vancouver company he was convicted of defrauding of nearly $400,000 | Photo | Contributed

A serial Burnaby fraudster will go to jail for a third time after pleading guilty to fishy dealings at a Surrey seafood company in 2013.

As sales manager of Gold River Seafood Inc., Arthur Wong arranged four deals worth a total of nearly $19,000 between suppliers used by Gold River and buyers in Asia.

After paying off the suppliers, however, Wong pocketed the profit, $4,044.17.

At a sentencing hearing in Surrey Provincial Court Friday, Crown prosecutor Kevin Marks said evidence presented at trial suggested Wong and other employees were getting ready to form their own seafood company and “using Gold River’s customers” to do it.

After a three-day trial in March 2018, Wong pleaded guilty this past April to fraud over $5,000 in relation to the deals.

Marks and defence lawyer Gloria Ng agreed a three-month jail term followed by one year of probation was appropriate, but Ng argued Wong should be allowed to serve the time on weekends.

She said Wong had committed the fraud during a “period of offending behaviour” in his life, but that he was a changed man since spending time in jail for defrauding a family business in North Vancouver (Unique Accommodations) of $400,000 between May 2007 and November 2009 as well as lying to banks to get a mortgage and a line of credit during that time.

He was sent to jail again – this time for only one day – in April for stealing from another company he started working for in 2010, Phoenix Media Direct Inc.

He was originally accused of defrauding that company of about $200,000, but a provincial court judge ruled the only crime the Crown had proven beyond a reasonable doubt was an unauthorized $147 credit card payment.

Marks argued the convictions spoke to Wong’s character even though he wasn’t convicted of those crimes until after his time at Gold River and didn’t have a criminal record at the time he made the fishy deals at the seafood company.

Ng, however, said Wong has had no problems during his periods of probation and pointed to letters of support from his brother and sister who said Wong has changed and has gained a greater appreciation for the “humble life” and “how despicable greed can be.”

Now 63 years old, Wong has worked for two years as a driver delivering flowers.

'It never gets old'

B.C. Provincial Court Judge Kathryn Ferriss agreed Wong should be allowed to serve his time on weekends, saying it would facilitate further rehabilitation and enable him to keep working and supporting his family. 

“He’s 63 years old, and employability will become an issue for him if he loses his job at this time,” she said. “It is important for him – and for society – for him to continue to work and to be a part of his family and to support his family.”

Along with the jail sentence and probation, though, Ferriss ordered Wong to pay Gold River the $4,044.17 he pocketed and banned him from “seeking, obtaining or continuing any employment or becoming a volunteer in any capacity that involves having authority over real property, money or valuable securities of another person” for five years.

No one from Gold River was at Friday’s hearing, but two of Wong’s past victims were in court to watch a sheriff lead him away in cuffs once again.

“It never gets old,” Unique Accommodations co-owner Nina Ferentinos said with a smile.

Burnaby Now