By Delon Schurtz
Southern Alberta Newspapers
One of three southern Albertans charged in connection with a fraudulent-ticket scheme is headed for trial.
Lyle Henry Friesen of Stirling pleaded not guilty Friday in Lethbridge provincial court to one count each of false pretenses and fraud over $5,000. Friesen elected to be tried by a provincial court judge without a preliminary hearing and the matter was adjourned to the case management office to schedule a trial.
Lethbridge regional police reported last October that a ticket-brokerage company called Seat Crave Ltd. was established by a 58-year-old Stirling woman in the spring of 2013. The woman, along with a 62-year-old Stirling man and 45-year-old Lethbridge man, allegedly solicited individuals to either invest in the business or become clients by purchasing event tickets.
In most cases clients who purchased tickets either didn’t receive them or received fake tickets, and most investors did not receive any return on their investment. More than a dozen victims were defrauded a total of $250,000, police said.
Donna Pearl Stinn Friesen was charged with nine counts of false pretense over $5,000, four counts of false pretense, two counts of fraud over $5,000 and three counts of fraud under $5,000. Stinn Friesen’s next court hearing is scheduled for later this month.
Anthony Pittarelli of Lethbridge pleaded guilty in December to one count of fraud over $5,000 in connection to the ticket scheme. He and Marisa Giovanna Campanelli-Pittarelli also pleaded guilty to seven counts of fraud over $5,000 from unrelated incidents involving a Ponzi scheme that goes back to 2009. The mother and son are scheduled to be sentenced next month.
Anthony and Marisa also face single charges of fraud over $5,000 and theft over $5,000, and multiple counts of failing to comply with conditions of a release order. They are scheduled for trial on those charges next April with co-accused Caroline Tryon, who is charged with fraud over $5,000 and theft over $5,000, in relation to yet another ticket sales scheme.