By Brian Caldwell | Waterloo Region Record

KITCHENER — The fraud and theft trial of prominent former financial planner Daniel P. Reeve started in Kitchener on Monday with allegations that 41 investors lost a total of $10 million.

When Reeve was charged in 2012, police estimated the alleged fraud at $30 million and said it involved more than 120 victims, which would make it the largest financial crime in Waterloo Region’s history if proved.

In 2013, the amount was estimated at $18 million and then last year it dropped to $10 million, making it half the size of the Pigeon King International pigeon-breeding scam.

There was no explanation on Monday why the estimate dropped to $10 million.

Reeve, 55, entered the courtroom wearing a sweater and jeans and walked to the prisoner’s box in handcuffs.

Minutes later, defence lawyer Mary Cremer asked that Reeve’s handcuffs be removed and he be allowed to sit at the defence table. She said Reeve has been in custody since July 2012 and never posed a security risk.

Crown attorney Fred Creed agreed to the request, noting Reeve has no criminal record and no history of violence.

After pleading not guilty to fraud over $5,000 and theft over $5,000, a court official asked Reeve if he was ready for his trial.

“I am,” Reeve replied.

The trial is expected to last four to five months.

A former Elora resident who later moved to Collingwood, Reeve was a financial planner, author and public speaker who has previously been described as the man who ran the Millionaire in You Wealth Institute in Waterloo and owned the Jakobstettel Inn in St. Jacobs.

Reeve has also been called the principal player in DPR Financial Inc. of Cambridge and related companies elsewhere in the region.

In a brief opening statement, Creed said Reeve was a well-established financial planner who had a “solid reputation.” Reeve wrote books, promoted himself and built up trust with his clients, Creed said, calling that trust “unfounded.”

“At some point his success gave way to deceit,” Creed said.

Creed alleged most of the investment money Reeve received from clients wound up being used for his own personal use. The offences are alleged to have happened between 2007 and 2009.

The first witness was Norman DeBoer, a detective in the Waterloo Regional Police fraud branch and lead investigator in the Reeve case.

He testified he interviewed more than 200 people and filled seven notebooks. DeBoer said the first fraud complaint was received in November 2008. Police began investigating five people. DeBoer said he was the officer who arrested Reeve.

Transaction records from about 20 bank accounts for a variety of companies were entered as exhibits.

The names of the companies included DPR Financial Inc., DPR Waterloo Inc., DPR Windsor Inc., DPR London Inc., Jakobstettel Properties Inc., Jakobstettel Estates Inc., Reeve Hotels & Resorts Inc., Millionaire Travel Inc., Millionaire Media Inc., Millionaire Mortgage Inc., Millionaire Multimedia Inc., The Millionaire in You Wealth Institute, Eveson Travel/Millionaire Travel, Select Executive Services and Emerald Met Inc.

Records of two of Reeve’s personal bank accounts, a line of credit and a credit card were also entered as exhibits, as were seven books written by Reeve, including “The Secret of the Three Buckets,” “The Mirrored Butterfly” and “The Wealth Effect.”

DeBoer testified that during his investigation, he visited a building at 423 King St. N. in Waterloo that was home to three companies: DPR Financial, Millionaire Mortgage and the Wealth Institute.

Questioned by Cremer, DeBoer said the office had previously been located in Cambridge.

DeBoer testified Reeve’s brother, David Reeve, became president of DPR in early 2008 or possibly late 2007.

Cremer took an aggressive approach to cross-examination of the lead investigator, suggesting police developed tunnel vision and never seriously considered other suspects, including employees in the web of Reeve companies.

DeBoer denied that was the case.

“It was always that we were keeping an open mind about other involvement,” he said.

DeBoer also rejected a suggestion by Cremer that David Reeve was promised he wouldn’t be charged if he testified against his brother.

Cremer pressed the officer on key documents turned over to police by two bookkeepers for Reeve companies, suggesting they had stolen them from their boss.

“That’s a matter of opinion,” DeBoer said. “I would disagree with you.”

The judge-alone trial in front of Justice Toni Skarica is taking place in Ontario Superior Court.

Fraser McCracken, part of a two-man prosecution team, said five or six witnesses will testify by remote video link. All but one of the witnesses live outside of Canada, he said.

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