Ian Thow denied trip to Mexico in parole-board reversal

Ian Thow will not be going to Mexico after all.

The Parole Board of Canada has changed its mind and denied the convicted fraudster a trip to Mexico for a family member’s wedding.

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In refusing to authorize out-of-country travel, the board cited the lack of genuine remorse displayed by Thow for his crimes and the possibility such a trip would increase his risk to reoffend.

“Based primarily on your ongoing manipulative and egocentric behaviour, decisions that appear to be contrary to genuine remorse and which are consistent with an ongoing callous attitude … the Board concludes that travel to Mexico will increase your risk to reoffend to an undue level,” the board wrote in its decision.

The parole board also cited lack of confirmation that the Mexican government would accept Thow when he arrived — his fraud offences meet the Mexican criteria for refusal of entry — and his history of fleeing Canada after he was charged.

In March 2014, the board confirmed that it had authorized out-of-country leave for Thow to attend a wedding in October 2014. It also approved a two-day extension of that leave.

However, a hurricane forced the wedding to be postponed until February 2015, and it appears Thow’s behaviour over the last year was enough to convince the board to change its mind when it considered his new application for out-of-country travel.

Since being granted full parole in the fall of 2012, Thow has changed jobs twice. In one case, he left a landscaping firm after the company had concerns about his behaviour.

According to parole board documents, trust between the company and Thow broke down after Thow was accused of overspending his expense account on gifts for potential clients, including buying cigars and alcohol.

He was also accused of not providing to the company administrative rights to a website he had created and of withholding contracts he negotiated.

Thow left the company to join another landscaping firm, where he solicits business and drives a snow-removal truck.

In reaching its decision, the board said it had concerns about a claim Thow made that since his parole was granted, he had refused jobs that would have paid him between $10,000 and $15,000 a month because he believed it constituted a high risk.

“The Board is of the view that if your claim with respect to the employment offers is in fact true as opposed to an attempt to portray yourself in a positive light (which would be consistent with your past behaviour) then you could in fact work in such employment and apply most of the money you earn over and above your current income to restitution payments.”

Thow, who lives in rental housing in the Fraser Valley, makes restitution payments of $100 a month because of a court order that requires him to pay back $3.8 million.

The parole board characterized the payments as “a very minimal attempt to pay anything back to the victims.”

“Your decision to reject such lucrative employment therefore indicates to the Board that you continue to be self-centred as you have not taken advantage of an opportunity to make a much more significant contribution to restoring at least some of the money you stole from the victims.”

The parole board also took issue with Thow’s requests to extend stays in Mexico. What was initially to be a seven-day trip, paid for by his family, was extended to nine and, most recently, he had requested 10 days for the February wedding.

“The Board finds the incremental increase in your requested time out of Canada to demonstrate an ongoing sense of entitlement,” it wrote in its decision.

“The Board notes the role your considerable sense of entitlement played in the index offences.

“The Board also notes there is no reason for you to stay in Mexico for nine days other than your own self-gratification and pleasure.”

Thow, who worked as an investment adviser in Victoria, was convicted in March 2010 of defrauding 20 former clients of $8 million.

He was released from prison in October 2012 after serving less than a third of a nine-year prison sentence. His parole runs until March 3, 2017.

aduffy@timescolonist.com

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