WINDSOR — A man accused of swindling more than $4 million out of 179 investors will remain in custody for a few more days to allow the Crown attorney time to prepare for his bail hearing.
Quintin Earl Sponagle, 50, appeared in Windsor provincial court Nov. 28 on three charges of fraud over $5,000 and one charge of theft over $5,000 in relation to an alleged Ponzi scheme.
It is alleged Sponagle, former head of Jabez Financial Services, is responsible for defrauding investors between Dec. 1, 2005 and Sept. 30, 2006. Police say Sponagle fled to the Republic of Panama in 2006 while complaints lodged against him were under investigation.
The Windsor court appearance marked Sponagle’s return to the province after he was extradited from Panama to face the fraud charges. RCMP officers with Nova Scotia’s federal serious and organized crime unit travelled to Panama to bring Sponagle, a former Hants County resident, back to Canada.
Legal aid lawyer Chrystal MacAuley told the court Sponagle hoped his bail hearing would be dealt with Nov. 28, but Rick Hartlen, a senior Crown attorney for the Province of Nova Scotia, opposed his release.
Hartlen advised Judge Claudine MacDonald that he needs time to prepare for what could be a lengthy bail hearing. MacDonald agreed to an adjournment, stating that the Crown is entitled to a reasonable period of time to prepare for the bail hearing, which is scheduled to take place Dec. 2 in Windsor.
In addressing reporters in the lobby of the courthouse, Hartlen said the case is fairly complex.
“It’s an allegation of a multimillion dollar fraud perpetrated by a former resident of the Province of Nova Scotia,” he said.
Hartlen added that the case is relatively unique.
“It’s a fairly rare thing. It’s particularly rare for the extraordinary step of extradition to be taken.”
Sponagle’s wife, Shelley Sponagle, told reporters she believes her husband is innocent.
“My husband is innocent and we are thanking God for his innocence,” said Shelley Sponagle, who waited outside of the courthouse to watch deputy sheriffs escort her handcuffed husband into a van for transport.
Shelley Sponagle stared as Quintin Sponagle quickly made his way from the courthouse to the back of the deputy sherriff’s van. “I love you, honey,” she said.
The Nova Scotia Securities Commission started investigating Jabez Financial based on complaints from investors in 2006.
Jabez Financial once had an office in Windsor.