City man avoids jail for fraud

A Vernon man will not face jail time for his part in a major Internet fraud scheme.

A Vernon man will not face jail time for his part in a major Internet fraud scheme.

A judge gave Akthem Saadi Yousif, 35, an 18-month conditional sentence Tuesday in Calgary Court of Queen’s Bench after Yousif had earlier pleaded guilty to 10 counts of fraud for selling vintage cars he didn’t own or have through eBay or other websites in 2007 and 2008.

He was also ordered to pay back more than $330,000 in restitution to 10 victims.

Crown counsel had been seeking an 18-to-24-month jail sentence.

The case’s agreed statement of facts said Yousif agreed to sell 14 vintage vehicles, and deposited more than $330,000 from two victims in Europe and eight victims in the U.S.

Yousif would agree to ship the vehicles to the U.S. for pickup, but never followed through. He also declined to answer victims’ phone calls or e-mails, and did not return deposits.

In passing sentence, the judge said Yousif would be sentenced to house arrest for the first 10 months, and would be on a curfew from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. for the final eight months.

He was also ordered to perform 200 hours community service and he is not allowed to have  a computer or access to Internet, except for purposes in his work as a graphic designer in Vernon.

Yousif is not allowed to have any Internet access in his home, nor is he to be in possession of any personal computer, be it desktop, laptop or any device capable of accessing the Internet except when at his employers.

While at work, he may only use the Internet for work purposes.

Yousif was also ordered to pay a $100 surcharge that goes into Alberta’s  Victims of Crime Fund.

Charges in the same matter against Yousif’s wife, Alanna Nicole Austring, were withdrawn.