|A Greater Sudbury prostitute who bilked an elderly man out of $100,000 — leaving him so broke he could not afford to have his late wife's name engraved on her headstone — won't be going to jail./Photo illustration
SUDBURY, Ont – A Sudbury prostitute who bilked an elderly man out of $100,000 — leaving him so broke he could not afford to have his late wife's name engraved on her headstone — won’t be going to jail.
Instead, Marjorie Sirvage will serve a two-year conditional sentence.
“I feel Marjorie Sirvage is a good candidate for a conditional sentence,”Judge Patricia Hennessy said Thursday. “Miss Sirvage needs significant resources to help her deal with her mental-health issues.”
Sirvage, 44, pleaded guilty March 12 to extortion. Sentencing was delayed three weeks because the pre-sentence report did not adequately address Sirvage's mental-health issues.
The relationship between Sirvage and the elderly man began about four years ago when he replied to an escort service advertisement and began using her services once a month.
After 30 months, it had evolved into a friendship, with the man providing money as gifts and loans, said defence lawyer John Saftic.
Court was told Sirvage was paid $3,000 for her sexual services, received $87,000 in assistance and loans to help with fake medical crises and trips, and extorted another $10,000 the victim, a man in his late 80s.
Crown attorney Philip Zylberberg said that in her interview with police, Sirvage admitted to making up a “whole lot of stupid stuff” in order to get the elderly man to give her money. She'd say she needed money to visit a foster child at a children's hospital, travel to Montreal to work in films and assist her gravely ill father, who needed blood transfusions.
When the old man stopped handing over cash, Zylberberg said the extortion letters and phone calls started.
Sirvage first threatened to tell the man's wife and, after she died, one of his daughters.
She once falsely told the man that one time when he thought he was talking on the telephone ,he was actually talking to her teenage daughter.
“Do you think your daughter wants to know you hit on a 16-year-old girl?” Zylberberg said of what Sirvage told the elderly man. “(And) I'm going to tell about the relationship. The time I was asleep, you had sex with me anyway. The time you hit on my daughter. If I don't get money, I'm going to tell your daughter.”
The stress caused the victim throw up frequently. He lost 26 pounds, Zylberberg said.
A tearful Sirvage pleaded with Judge Hennessy not to send her to jail.
“I am very ashamed of what I did,” she said. “I want to try and make money to repay (the victim) so he can feel less stressed. I do feel bad for this. I have good opportunities to have mental-health therapy.”
Saftic told the court that Sirvage — who was abused as a child physically, mentally and sexually, and was raped two decades ago — is the mother of five children, all of whom were removed by the Children's Aid Society.
Sirvage also suffers from a range of mental illnesses including agoraphobia, panic attacks, personality disorder, anxiety disorder, and schizophrenia.
“If I'm in jail, how am I supposed to make money to pay (the victim) back. How can I get better?” she said.
Zylberberg said there was an absence of remorse in the pre-sentence report and Sirvage's police interview.
“She tells the police, “It's the wrongest thing I ever did,’” he said. “'I will regret it for the rest of my life.' But she uses the incident on the couch as carte blanche to do what she wants. She was sophisticated enough to make up all kinds of stories to (the victim) and sophisticated enough to keep going.”
The elderly man, now 92, was so financially ruined by Sirvage, said Zylberberg, that he could not afford to do repairs to the home he had built, get a broken television fixed, or have his late wife's headstone engraved.
In his sentencing submission, Zylberberg said what Sirvage did was tantamount to elder abuse — taking advantage of a vulnerable, old man who wanted intimacy and fleecing him of his $100,000 in life savings.
The victim decline comment outside court.