Trial opens, warrant issued

The trial for two men charged in connection to the Penticton hockey dorm saga opened today with a Canada-wide arrest warrant being issued for one of the accused.

Loren Reagan did not show up for the start of trial Monday in Penticton, where he is being tried with Mike Elphicke for fraud and theft over $5,000 and unauthorized management of a lottery scheme.

It is alleged the two men took money and fundraising proceeds from parents for an overseas youth hockey trip that never took place, instead spending the money on private expenses and a failed hockey dorm for the now defunct Okanagan Elite Hockey Association.

Reagan’s lawyer told the courts that his client communicated with him via email on Saturday, informing him he was overseas and was not going to attend the trial.

It’s believed he is currently in Kuwait.

After the judge announced the warrant for Reagan’s arrest, he granted his lawyer’s request to be removed from the file.

In his opening statements, Crown prosecutor Patrick Fullerton said he would prove that Elphicke was aware the funds were being misused.

“Mr. Reagan came up with the idea that Mr. Elphicke would be sort of, the point person for all this,” he told the courtroom.

Fullerton stated that deposits of $1,000 were taken from a group of parents, who were told the price for the trip would be $5,500 per traveller.

Fundraising was also encouraged, through raffle tickets, which the Crown alleges the Hockey Association did not hold a license for.

“None of the hockey parents were aware that Mr. Reagan was using the money that they were giving him to put into the Okanagan Elite Hockey Association bank accounts, was being put into Mr. Reagan’s personal expenses and a hockey dorm construction project,” Fullerton said.

It is alleged that the hockey parents raised more than $125,000 in the form of payments and deposits for the hockey tour and raffle ticket sales.

Work did start on the hockey dorm, but was halted after the land sale from the City of Penticton fell apart. The Crown said some City of Penticton staff have been subpoenaed, but will likely not testify in the interest of saving time.

Cpl. Chad Parsons, a former Penticton RCMP officer now stationed in Princeton and the file's lead investigator was the first to take the stand Monday. The Crown is expected to call several more witnesses and produce a significant amount of bank records, including those from the City of Penticton, over the two week trial.

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