A Millet, Alberta-area man and woman were acquitted Wednesday (Jan. 21) of defrauding a British Columbia man out of a $45,000 bank loan as part of a motorhome rental business.
The Edmonton Journal reported that Rebekah Donszelmann, 33, and her former husband, Steven Weeres, 55, were cleared after Court of Queen’s Bench Justice John Little ruled the evidence — comprised of a lone witness and no documents — couldn’t prove the couple perpetrated a fraud. They could have been duped themselves, Little noted, or been honest or inept bosses of a failing business.
“We did not have the best evidence available,” Little said. “Fraud is not the inevitable conclusion.”
On Monday, British Columbia tow truck driver Joshua Lemmens testified about a $45,000 personal loan transferred into an account on Weeres’ direction, thinking it would buy him an RV and a stake in Leisure RV, the business represented by Donszelmann and Weeres. What started in February 2008 as a “motivational friendship” eventually soured, Lemmens said, as the motorhome never materialized and requests to get his money back were brushed aside.
By August, Lemmens seized an RV and trailer from the Millet business as “leverage” to get back the money he said he was owed. After driving toward his home in Hope, British Columbia, he got a call from Weeres, who talked him into returning the vehicles on promises of future repayment at the end of the summer. Lemmens never saw Weeres or Donszelmann again and eventually went bankrupt. Only three payments had been made on his loan before payments fell back on him.
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