For James Alexander and Moishe Lerman, the sentencing of Joe Vos by an Ontario court to roughly a month for every million he defrauded brought closure to an unpleasant, expensive and long journey for the two channel veterans.
In the court approved Agreed Statement of Facts that Joe Vos signed, the former co-owner of Microage Southwestern Ontario, which eventually merged with Microage Calgary and CTI Technologies (owned by Alexander and Lerman), for a period of six years starting in 1995 took money from Microage and MetaFore and hid it by creating phony accounts receivables and invoices and directing other employees to create bogus records for the use of the money that totaled to approximately $29 million.
According to Alexander, this long seven year-plus process was an effort to clear his good name and that of his partner Lerman. “When we were forced out of the company there might have been a question mark on our reputations and at the end of seven-and-a-half years that has been cleared up and I am grateful of that,” Alexander said.
Alexander’s ordeal has taught him that white collar crime is very difficult to prosecute in this country. “We went to several different jurisdictions trying to get anyone interested in pursuing what is a sizable fraud,” he added. Until Alexander found Waterloo police Sergeant Rob Zensner and crown prosecutor Melanie Sopinka in 2005 no one was willing to take up their case.
“That is a long process, and if this was the U.S. it would be much quicker and the sentence much different. For my community (the channel), there is a message here. Do your due diligence. Just because you know someone for a lot of years does not mean you really know everything,” said Alexander, who is now the vice-president of London, Ont.-based research firm Info Tech.