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P.E.I. pastor guilty of fraud in Ontario

Harold Alan Stewart arrived at the Oshawa, Ont., courthouse for the start of his trial Monday, Sept. 10. Stewart, identified by police as minister of a church in Prince Edward Island, is accused along with two others of defrauding an elderly Oshawa widow of hundreds of thousands of dollars. - Ron Pietroniro /Metroland
Harold Alan Stewart arrived at the Oshawa, Ont., courthouse for the start of his trial Monday, Sept. 10. Stewart, identified by police as minister of a church in Prince Edward Island, is accused along with two others of defrauding an elderly Oshawa widow of hundreds of thousands of dollars. - Ron Pietroniro /Metroland

Rev. Harold Alan Stewart convicted in scam that targeted 90-year-old widow with dementia

OSHAWA, Ont. - An Ontario jury has convicted a retired P.E.I. Presbyterian minister, and two others of defrauding an elderly Oshawa, Ont. widow.

The findings of guilt against the three came Oct. 25, just four hours after jurors had retired to begin their deliberations.

Alexsander Budimirovic, his common-law wife Ashley Carlson and Harold Alan Stewart, a Presbyterian pastor now retired from his charge in Prince Edward Island, had all pleaded not guilty to participating in a scam that targeted Ethel Hockett, an Oshawa senior befriended by Budimirovic.

The Crown alleged Hockett, who is now in her 90s and suffering from dementia, was conned into taking out a substantial line of credit, using her mortgage-free home as security, and handing the money over to Budimirovic and Stewart. Other charges related to the allegedly fraudulent use of Hockett’s credit card by all three accused.

Also on the indictment were allegations that Carlson and Stewart provided false information on a mortgage application for a property they bought in Oshawa; Budimirovic was also charged with attempted fraud for what the Crown says were his efforts to sell a parcel of land he did not own to an animal sanctuary.

Jurors convicted Budimirovic on all of the charges he faced. Stewart was convicted of fraud over $5,000 and money laundering relating to the scam targeting Hockett. He was acquitted of charges relating to the illegal use of her credit card.

Stewart and Carlson were convicted of fraud over $5,000 relating to the Oshawa property. Carlson was found not guilty of fraud over $5,000 relating to Hockett, but convicted of illegally using the senior’s credit card data.

Also on the indictment were allegations that Carlson and Stewart provided false information on a mortgage application for a property they bought in Oshawa; Budimirovic was also charged with attempted fraud for what the Crown says were his efforts to sell a parcel of land he did not own to an animal sanctuary.

Jurors convicted Budimirovic on all of the charges he faced. Stewart was convicted of fraud over $5,000 and money laundering relating to the scam targeting Hockett. He was acquitted of charges relating to the illegal use of her credit card.

Stewart and Carlson were convicted of fraud over $5,000 relating to the Oshawa property. Carlson was found not guilty of fraud over $5,000 relating to Hockett, but convicted of illegally using the senior’s credit card data.


- By Jeff Mitchell, Metroland Media Group

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