NEWS

'Romancing plumber' Faris Namrud sentenced to 18 months for $560K in fraud

01/14/2015 09:26 EST | Updated 03/16/2015 05:59 EDT
An Iraqi refugee convicted of defrauding victims of more than $560,000 was sentenced Tuesday to 18 months in jail, and three years probation.

Faris Namrud, known as the "romancing plumber," pleaded guilty in November to five counts of of fraud over $5,000.

Judge Joseph Galati ordered Namrud to undergo counselling, and barred him from using aliases, issuing cheques, or operating any business.

He also ordered Namrud to repay his victims the more than half million dollars they're owed, "in the unlikely event he wins the lottery."

Fraud victims disappointed

A Vancouver woman who lost $86,000 to Namrud is disappointed he won't be serving more time.

"Given his history and his character I think he'll just be right back at business as usual and defrauding people again," said Kasandra Harfield.

"The whole reason I came forward in the first place was to try and prevent that."

Last year, CBC Investigates exposed Namrud's long history of fraud, and the accusation he ripped off Harfield.

Harfield said he came across as a friendly, busy contractor, who told her his name was Franco Nemro Loranzo of Miami Home Renovation.

She paid him a cash deposit to turn her East Vancouver garage into a laneway home, but the work was never done, and "Loranzo's" refund cheques bounced.

Decade of romancing and fraud

Before the current charges, Namrud already had criminal convictions for fraud, ripping off at least ten women in Canada in the last decade.

He used a number of Italian aliases, and often seduced his victims before taking their savings.

The 47-year-old arrived in Canada in 1999, and was issued a deportation order in 2008 when he was first jailed for fraud.

Namrud's lawyer, Mark Swartz, says he had a difficult past in the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980's where he was "tortured for a period of a year."

"He is remorseful. He let down a number of people. He let down his family. He let down his former employees and their families [who] relied on him for an income, as well as the victims," said Swartz.

Harfield's civil lawyer hopes the latest conviction will prompt federal immigration officials to finally deport Namrud. 

"I know my client will be very interested to see what happens with Mr. Namrud's deportation proceedings, given the economic devastation he's brought on his victims," said civil litigator David Georgetti.

As for Harfield, she says she's happy the case is over and that at least "some justice is done."

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