If you told me 3 years ago, that convicted criminals, who were once
fugitives in the US for a multi-million dollar oil scam could come here
to Canada, and succeed in operating another scam of innocent citizens,
I would have told you "No way possible. Our government would not allow
this to happen. There are people and laws in place to protect us...
to look out for our best interest. They have rules and regulations in
place to protect the public against corrupt and fraudulent companies,
don't they?" Well sadly enough, I found out the answer is "NO." There
is no one that neither cares to look out for us, and our best interest,
nor is there anyone to do anything about it when it does happen.
Unfortunately it is our job as a victim of these "business crimes" to
dig into our now empty pockets, to hire lawyers, and fight to PROVE the
obvious... that there IS a scam going on, and the criminals need to be
stopped. And even IF you can afford to fight for your "rights", (which
could take up to 5-12 years so we were told) these large companies have
the top lawyers who will do their best to win their case, at any cost.
And then, even if there is a slight chance that you do win... it will
still surely be appealed. This is usually not even an option, as a
good lawyers charges $3-500/hour, and to be able to aboard lawsuit is a
luxury to most.
For many of us victims, this story started out approximately 6 years
ago, when job seekers stumbled on a now familiar ad in the local
newspaper classified section. It reads, "Start your own business... Be
your own boss... Earn $3000-$5000/week guaranteed! We train...No
experience necessary...Great opportunity!"
This sounded like a good opportunity to work hard, but make a decent
salary... and many of us took the worm.
This warm and friendly father and son team treated us like their own
children, as they took us under their wing and welcomed us into their
fast growing family business.
This family business was a trucking company called "Kennedy
Transportation" owned by father Jean Marie, and son Dennis St. Gelais.
They explained that there was such a demand for the import/export of
goods between the US and Canada by ground, and it would keep growing.
Since their company alone could not handle all the work, they decided
to help other companies operate so we could all share the work and
wealth together. These caring businessmen, who had clearly done well
for themselves, explained in detail how they would help train us to run
a complete company of our own to accommodate the continuous demand for
work. As their ad stated, they would be there to fully train, set us up
and hire all employees and make sure our company was running well on
its own, before they slowly faded themselves out. But, they would
always be there should we ever need them for years to come. For this
service, there was of course a small set up fee of $10, 000, but this
was minimal, since they had our best interest at heart.
Amazingly, they helped us finance twelve trucks for only $80, 000 down!
Originally they said the leasing company would need much more $ down,
so we could remortgage our homes, which they could help us with also.
Since one truck would bring you in a profit of $3-5, 000 /week, having
12 trucks would bring in $36-$60, 000...guaranteed! They showed us
their books and numbers...it was foolproof. Since the money would be
coming in within the first 2 weeks as truck runs were done, there
really was no risk in taking out a second mortgage we were told. We
would have the full amount within months to pay back. Even though this
sounded great, my husband still did not like the idea, and said $80, 000
was all that we had to play with at he moment. Well, to our surprise,
the St. Gelais family and KCC Leasing had such a great relationship
over the years, that KCC made an exception for us! They gave us 12
trucks for $80, 000 down with a 5-year lease agreement. Wow, were we
lucky...or so we thought.
Within a month, Jean had spent every day with us setting us up with all
we needed to get started. He scouted for a location, and helped us set
up the lease of our 10, 000 sq ft warehouse/office space. He just had
all the right connections, and everything went so smoothly. Before we
knew it, a company came in and furnished our newly renovated offices
with office furniture, desks, chairs, boardroom table, dispatcher desks
and computers, software, and a complete 6-phone dispatcher phone
system. The furniture was not new, but his friend had a company and he
got us the used chairs and tables for under $10, 000..., which he said,
was a fantastic price.
Within a month and a half, we were set up and ready to go. We had 12
trucks, all less than 3 yrs new sitting at our warehouse. My husband
went down to part time hours at his job, and my brother quit his, both
to be at our new trucking company so they could watch, learn, and
understand the business and take over themselves as soon as possible.
Now all we needed were the drivers, dispatchers, and our team from
Kennedy Transportation to show us how to pull it all together. This is
when things took a turn for the worse.
We sat anxiously in the office for a week...No drivers, and no
dispatchers showed up. We did have Jean Marie St Gelais' "right hand
man" Gary show up midweek. That is when it became obvious things
weren't working out according to plans. It quickly became evident that
Gary was an alcoholic, and knew nothing about operating the business.
At all! He sat and played on the computer, and starred blankly when we
asked, "What is going on?" Our friend and father figure who had spent
every day helping us, was nowhere to be found. We did not want to
accept that this was happening...but reality slowly set in.
Finally, in a frantic state, we got a hold of Jean Marie St Gelais by
phone. He tried to assure us in his comforting calm voice that we had
to be patient, and these things take a little time. But NOTHING was
happening...At all. After a few more long and agonizing days, we
realized we were alone, but still did not understand what had fully
taken place and why. We had no time to think about this. We had lease
payments on the building, 12 trucks with monthly payments due
immediately, amongst many other expenses soon to come. We knew we
needed to take action.
After a few weeks, we had desperately taken matters in our own hands,
and tried hiring our own drivers and dispatchers in hopes that we might
be able to figure things out on our own as we went along. Our
nightmare continued, and got worse. As we scrambled to get drivers on
the road to accommodate the few orders our untrained dispatchers could
gather, we found the trucks were not even in working order. KCC
Leasing had given us trucks without clutches, faulty breaks,
non-operative headlights, and some did not even start. We starred at
the "safety inspection certificates" which were approved by KCC...how
could this be? We then hired our own safety inspector, who confirmed
that there was NO way in hell any of these trucks should even be on the
road, and deemed them unsafe. Nine out of the twelve were unsafe and
could not even be driven.
What we found out after this, we could have never imagined in our
wildest dreams. My husband decided to take the VIN numbers of our 12
trucks and see if he could find out who their previous owners were, and
where they came from. He discovered a list for some, of up to 10
previous owners...and the trucks were just a few years old! He tried
to contact as many as he could. The few he did get a hold of were very
familiar with Kennedy Transportation, and our dear friend, Mr. Jean
Marie St. Gelais.
Over the next very stressful few months we were contacted by numerous
"victims" who were in the same situation we were. We were all trying
to keep afloat, trying to survive while running a business we knew
nothing about, all on our own. We told Gary not to bother to come in,
as his mistakes caused us more problems than not, and we were on our
own. It was sink or swim. So we tried our best to swim in the deep and
We quickly became close to the other company owners like us trying to
keep afloat. We tried to help each other out where we could, and
definitely found comfort in sharing our almost identical stories. Some
of these new friends did re-mortgage their homes, and almost all of
them were up to their necks in debt. Unfortunately, most of them had
invested between $400, 000- $700, 000 to start their new company and had
spent every penny they had on this "fool proof " business plan by a
father and son who took them in like family, only to abandon them
We noticed that there was a cleverly thought out pattern here, and a
reason why everyone was left in so much debt. The answer was very
simple...None of us had anything left to hire a lawyer and put these
criminals away. This they knew very well, and counted on it. None of
us, even if we pulled together could afford to have a lawyer work on
our case for the years they said it would take to put a case together.
Our lawyer told us very simply, to" Walk away. Return the trucks and
the keys to KCC." He predicted the worst, and he was right. He
believed that Kennedy Transportation, KCC and other leasing companies,
the real estate rental agencies, safety inspection companies, and
insurance companies, were all working together. When people could not
survive operating the business on their own, they walked away from
everything within a few months. These parasite companies depended on
this cycle. Trucks, furniture and all equipment paid for themselves
over and over as they were resold to new suckers every few months. It
was true...We broke our lease, returned the trucks and never heard back
from KCC regarding our outstanding lease payments. They actually did
not even blink an eye, as they seemed to routinely take the keys from
our hands, with no questions asked.
Some of these other victims we met along the way, had an even worse
story than ours. Again, I would have never believed it could happen
here in Canada...But I saw it with my own eyes. Others actually
immigrated here to Canada to follow a dream for a new and better life.
They did this under Kennedy Transportation's umbrella company. Yes its
true. Kennedy has a full up and running immigration company set up
under their website. They provide this service to "help" people
wanting to immigrate, and claim they will set you up with this fool
proof business that they will help you run. For those that could only
afford one truck, they were guaranteed that they could work for larger
companies like ours. There was always work. We did have many "owner
operators" they were called, come to us for work. Since our trucks
weren't in working order, we did contract these drivers out. But it
wasn't long until either, their truck too broke down, or there was such
a language barrier that prevented them from getting work, or they just
did not have the proper training to operate and continue. With no
money coming in, and from a foreign country, these people were
abandoned with nowhere to turn. I'm sure it was most difficult for
these people wanting to make a living, who did not even speak the
language, to fully understand what had just happened to them. Wasn't
this Canada? The land of opportunity?
It is because all these people, ... that have been victimized beyond
belief, ...and for families that have been left homeless, and the
fathers that have attempted suicide, and the victims that once had a
normal life, that went out in desperation and purchased a gun to try
and and take justice in their own hands... It's for these 100's of
victims that we have become familiar with, that makes my heart ache,
and I therefore think that some justice has to come their way...Even if
it is to stop it from happening to one more innocent human being here
in this land of opportunity. Who if anyone in this modern and civil
country with rights and laws can protect the innocent who just want to
work and earn a decent living?
To this day, the ad placed by Kennedy Transportation can be seen in
local papers across the GTA. And to this day, we are still receiving
calls from new victims, who find little comfort in realizing that
they are not alone ...and many others share in their nightmare..."Isn't
there strength in numbers?" they ask..."Isn't there something we can
I wish I knew.
Thank you for taking the time to listen and consider this story. I’m
sure there are 100's maybe 1000's of others that are unfortunately
familiar with this story too. In the last 2 weeks we have been
contacted by 6 new companies who are closing down their businesses at
this very moment. I know they would be happy to see that finally
something is being done about it...Even if it's just making others
Quote: Taken from internet from Fortune 500 / Nov. 5/ 1990
"FAVORITE S&L FELONIES
Jean Marie St. Gelais 55, a Canadian, set up seven oil and gas limited
partnerships in Houston. He borrowed $15 million from Anchor Savings &
Loan in Kansas City and Crossland Savings in New York, purportedly for
drilling and exploration, and got backing for the loans from insurance
companies. He used some of the money to buy a penthouse in Houston and
to pay off old debts. St. Gelais was sentenced to 24 years in prison,
fined $1 million, and ordered to pay more than $13 million in
restitution. His son, Denis, is still a fugitive."