Businessman pleads guilty to defrauding Royal Bank

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Kenneth W. Lawrence of Charlottetown will return to provincial court March 21 for sentencing

Scales of justice

A 54-year-old Charlottetown businessman pleaded guilty Tuesday in provincial court to defrauding the Royal Bank of more than $1 million.

Kenneth W. Lawrence entered the guilty plea before Chief Provincial Court Judge John Douglas.

Douglas has adjourned the case to March 21 for sentence, pending the preparation of a pre-sentence report.

Crown prosecutor John McMillan said an agreed statement of facts will be filed with the court.

The agreed statement of facts will specify, among other things, the exact amount Lawrence fraudulently obtained from the bank.

When he was originally charged, the information provided by police indicated the amount approached $3.6 million.

McMillan said Tuesday that after further investigation that amount has been reduced to something in the area of $2 million.

Lawrence, who operated Discount Car and Truck Rental and First Fleet Auto Sales, was alleged to have defrauded the bank by providing false vehicle information in order to obtain funding.

Discount Car and Truck Rental is no longer connected to Lawrence.

Under legislation brought in by the federal government to address white-collar crime, there is a mandatory two-year federal sentence for fraud over $1 million.

That legislation became effective Nov. 1, 2011.

Lawrence was originally charged with both fraud over $5,000 and theft over $5,000.

After pleading guilty Tuesday to the fraud charge, the Crown stayed the theft charge.

Geographic location: Charlottetown

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