A Markham man convicted of defrauding his elderly mother and draining her bank account has been sentenced to three years in jail.
David Klimitz, 60, was sentenced Wednesday after being convicted of taking all of the life savings from his mother Royale Klimitz, forcing her eviction from her private retirement home. The 91-year-old was ultimately left to die penniless in a public nursing home.
“I felt pretty empty but I was glad that it came down to that,” Klimitz’s brother, Ron, told CityNews the day after the sentencing. He is the one who made the discovery that their mother’s $600,000 nest egg had been pared down to a mere $14.54. Access to this money was obtained through a fraudulent Power of Attorney.
Ron Klimitz’s wife, Lori, says this sentence means vindication for her family, and her deceased mother-in-law’s final years.
“It vindicated the fact that it wasn’t just us but the courts realized that this was a crime,” she said. “It was a crime strong enough that he needed to do some longer time and time in a penitentiary.”
She added, “I take great pleasure in the fact that he’s going to be spending the next three years of his life in a room about the same size that he doomed his mother to end her life in.”
Klimitz was convicted on June 30 of theft over $5,000 and fraud over $5,000.
Despite the conviction his brother Ron was surprised by the sentence, never thinking it would be adequate for the crime.
“I honestly didn’t believe that he was going to get it but as the Judge said, giving him a conditional sentence was not going to send the correct message out to the public,” he said.
Graham Webb of Toronto’s Advocacy Centre for the Elderly agrees the sentence is significant.
“I think the fact that the court gave a three-year sentence on this is saying this a big deal. This is an important crime that deserves a strong deterrent,” he told CityNews, adding Klimitz’s sentence length is akin to that of a bank robbery.
“I think the police are really onto this now,” he says. “You can expect police to investigate these crimes. You can expect crown attorneys to be interested in prosecuting them.”
And the sheer volume of cases like his mother’s is what still stuns Ron Kilmitz to this day.
“I’ve received a lot of calls from people who are in the same boat. It just breaks my heart,” he says, but adds in his case, his mother never got the chance to reap the benefits of the justice served.
“It didn’t help her life.”