(CMR) Irene Garcia, the travel agent that targeted Filipinos was sent to jail today. She was immediately remanded into custody after receiving a sentence of 22 months imprisonment.
Sadly, her victims will never be compensated for the thousands she took from them under the guise of booking their passage to and from the Philippines.
Garcia's initial sentence was for 33 months imprisonment but she received a 1/3 discount for her early guilty plea. Magistrate Phillipa McFarlane was of the opinion that despite her having property in the Philipines it was unlikely that she would be able to liquidate that property in order to pay back the almost $10,000 that she took from four victims.
On Garcia's previous appearance the court heard how she had falsified documents and stolen money paid to her for the purpose of booking travel back and forth to the Philippines.
Four victims provided statements to the police and she was prosecuted on the basis of those. The victims had suffered a particularly egregious wrong because many sacrificed significantly to find the funds to pay for the travel during the pandemic. The Crown argued that this elevated the degree of harm and culpability to the highest possible level.
The court also heard from her defense attorney that her employer was willing to give her a second chance at employment in her janitorial business. The implication being that the court should take that into consideration on whether or not a custodial sentence was appropriate. The magistrate shared the employer's position was unrealistic and it had no bearing on her decision.
Garcia will have to search 60% of her sentence and should face a CBC deportation order thereafter.