Keith Fraser of the Vancouver Sun wrote the following article entitled, “Vancouver stock promoter who failed to report $600,000 in income avoids jail” that was published on May 12, 2020.
A Vancouver stock promoter who was once featured in Canadian Business magazine has received a conditional sentence of two years less a day to be served in the community after being convicted of income tax evasion.
In October, a B.C. Supreme Court jury found Damien Reynolds, 52, guilty on all three counts of the indictment — defrauding the Canadian and B.C. governments by evading income taxes, failing to remit GST and HST, and attempting to defraud government officials.
The Crown alleged in the indictment that Reynolds had evaded income taxes from 2003-17, but, for sentencing purposes, Justice Gordon Weatherill found that Reynolds had failed to report his income in only two of those years, in 2004 and ’05, and involving a total of $609,000 in income.
The judge also concluded the father of four had failed to collect $121,000 in GST and HST, and had attempted to defraud the governments of a “substantial” amount of money. The Crown claimed that the amount was $4.1 million, but the judge said he could not determine the amount, only that it was substantial.
Described in court as a “deal-making entrepreneur,” the 2008 profile of Reynolds in Canadian Business magazine dubbed him “Kid Rock.” He was a director of dozens of junior companies mainly in the mineral exploration industry.
The Crown called for a sentence of 3 1/2 years and argued that Reynolds was motivated by greed and that the magnitude of the fraud was significant, involving many companies with international operations, takeovers and international stock transactions.
The defence argued that a conditional sentence order of 20 months to be served in the community would serve the goals of denunciation and deterrence.
Reynolds’ lawyer submitted 32 letters of support describing the offender as being a man of outstanding character, a loving, dedicated and doting father, and a trusted friend who is fiercely loyal.
In imposing sentence, the judge said that with the exception of him being motivated by greed, he accepted the aggravating factors as outlined by the Crown as being present in the case.
He noted that Reynolds was an entrepreneur who left the details to others, retained the services of accountants and lawyers to handle his tax matters, but added that there was no question that his moral culpability was high.
The judge said he also accepted that the mitigating factors as put forward by the defence, including that Reynolds had a “tumultuous” childhood with his father attempting to kill his mother by stabbing her with a screwdriver, were present.
“In addition while there is no guilty plea in this case, the evidence proffered by the Crown was by any measure profoundly complicated and fraught with difficulty,” he said during the sentencing Monday in Vancouver.
Weatherill said he was “particularly impressed” by the volume and content of the letters of support and character references provided to him: “They demonstrate that but for the offences for which he is now being sentenced, Mr. Reynolds is a man of good behaviour who is unlikely to reoffend.”
Conditions of his sentence include a curfew and that he perform 200 hours of community service. He must also pay a fine of $121,000, but due to the fact that he’s in the midst of bankruptcy proceedings, he has been given a year to pay that off.