A B.C. Supreme Court justice called a Victoria man “an incorrigible leech” and ordered him to vacate a wealthy elderly widow’s property this week and repay her $140,000 for lost investments, unpaid rent, personal loans and a car.
The relationship between Shane Gooderham and Rozanne Shuey began in 2002, when Gooderham walked up the driveway of Shuey’s large home in Victoria. He asked Shuey, then 79, if she was interested in selling her land.
“While she was not interested, she plainly took a liking to him and not long after, he persuaded her to ‘invest in U.S. currency’ and assured her he would double her money,” Supreme Court Justice Robert Crawford said in his Dec. 31 decision.
Shuey wrote a number of cheques totalling $16,500 for Gooderham to invest. He never reported back to her about the investments. When she asked about them, Gooderham told her he had gone on a holiday. Later, Gooderham admitted in court he had spent the money.
In September 2003, Gooderham was convicted of fraud under $5,000 in connection with a real-estate fraud involving another elderly Victoria woman and was sentenced to two years less a day in prison. While he was in jail, Gooderham wrote to Shuey and claimed he had found God and was studying law and business management. He managed to stay in her good graces and continued to send Shuey real estate tips. He also appealed his sentence and was released after nine months.
It was far from Gooderham’s first brush with the law for defrauding vulnerable people. He had 15 previous property-related offences over 20 years, including 11 related to fraud or false pretenses. He repaid only $1,000 of the $45,000 defrauded in his last offences.
Shuey was unaware of Gooderham’s criminal record and eventually, at his suggestion, bought a parcel of land at 9362 East Saanich Rd. near Victoria International Airport as an investment.
Gooderham told Shuey he’d already found a buyer, so the property could be flipped, “and after all the costs were paid, there would be a sufficient profit if equally shared that he could pay back Mrs. Shuey the monies he then owed her, some $16,000 to $18,000,” wrote Crawford.
Gooderham also told Shuey the sale would allow him to repay his mother $50,000 he obtained when he forged his mother’s signature on a house mortgage.
Shuey Holdings purchased the airport property on Jan. 31, 2005, for about $600,000. Crawford found Gooderham “shepherded Mrs. Shuey away from her solicitor and the transfer of lands to Shuey Holdings was completed by a notary public.”
Gooderham, acting on Shuey’s behalf, ordered the tenant at the airport property to move out by June 2005. Gooderham moved in and remained there rent-free until early 2009.
After the parcel didn’t sell as a potential four-lot subdivision, Gooderham proposed it be developed into 12 seniors’ patio homes, but the application was turned down in 2009.
Shuey also loaned a total of $18,750 to Gooderham throughout 2005 and 2006.
In August 2006, Shuey gave Gooderham her Buick Park Avenue car. She was about to trade it in for $10,000 when Gooderham told her he needed a car. Crawford accepted Shuey’s evidence that she expected the $10,000 to be paid back.
In mid-2006, Gooderham convinced Shuey to buy another parcel of land for $450,000. The second property was rented and Gooderham presented himself as the owner to the tenants. He collected $23,000 in rent, none of which went to Shuey.
Shuey sold the property in June 2011 for $428,000.
In November 2009, Shuey asked Gooderham to move out of the airport house because new tenants would be moving in on Dec. 1, 2009. Gooderham refused, saying his occupation of the house was part of their “deal.”
She launched the lawsuit against Gooderham on Jan. 28, 2011.
Crawford concluded that Shuey was “a wealthy but gullible listener” who believed Gooderham had found God even though he had swindled her of $16,500.
“That Mr. Gooderham talked a good game I have no doubt. Indeed, much of Mr. Gooderham’s connection with the truth in the matters in contest in this lawsuit was rather tenuous, often unrelated, and ‘;elastic,’ summarized in an exchange with counsel in cross-examination when it was put to Mr. Gooderham that he was lying, to which he replied, ‘;Whatever!’ ”
Crawford ordered Gooderham to repay Shuey $140,000 and vacate her home by midnight on Monday. Gooderham is no longer in the home.
© Copyright 2013