It wasn't until the prosecutor pronounced the fifth condition on Earl Jones's bail that two former investors unleashed dismissive snorts.
"The accused shall not manage other people's money," prosecutor Pierre Levesque told Judge Manon Ouimet.
Sitting at the back of the packed courtroom, Mr. Jones's onetime friend, Charles Washer, and his former gardener, Danielle Octeau-Manouvrier, expected Mr. Jones would get bail. But they couldn't help but laugh.
"It's like a guy commits murder and [he's told]don't do it again," Mr. Washer explained later.
Mr. Jones appeared in court Tuesday, his face flush and his dress shirt wrinkled from a first night in jail, to face four charges of fraud and four of theft linked to an alleged $50-million Ponzi scheme.
"I thought he looked terrible, which made me happy," said Mr. Washer, who has lost $125,000.
With at least 200 investors trying to find their money and financial authorities saying the cash is gone, Mr. Jones's lawyer, Jeffrey Boro, anticipates a raft of other charges.
Mr. Jones was released on $30,000 bail provided by an in-law and a promise to turn in his passport and stay in Quebec.
Outside the courtroom, enraged former investors and their relatives seemed to feed off the pack of reporters running from one frenzied interview to the next.
Mr. Jones was described as a monster, his alleged crimes compared to murder.
"Some of the older people are just devastated, they're on the streets, it's like genocide … it's killing somebody's life, their dream," said Ms. Octeau-Manouvrier, 51, who lost the $20,000 she and her husband scraped together.
"We have an epidemic of fraud in Canada, it's time to bring out the exterminators."
Alleged victims have organized a rally outside the Montreal courthouse Wednesday to raise awareness of financial fraud.
"It's the first step, like Rosa Parks moving from the back of the bus and coming forward," said organizer Kevin Curran, whose mother is among the alleged victims.
Defence lawyer Jeffrey Boro said the overheated atmosphere poses a threat to Mr. Jones, who was escorted from court to a waiting car by a flying wedge of courthouse security guards.
Mr. Boro said callers have left death threats on Mr. Jones's answering machine.
"I have a genuine fear that something might happen to Mr. Jones," said Mr. Boro. "The threat is real."
Former clients of Mr. Jones agree.
"I don't think he'll be a very safe person out there," Mr. Washer said.
The eight charges filed in court name three former clients who have yet to speak out, including James Heywood, Diane McLean and Christine Marlow. The Crown offered no new details on the cases, other than spelling out a 20-year time frame for the alleged frauds against Mr. Heywood and Ms. McLean.
The fourth case involved the heirs of Graeme Ross. His daughter, Ann Ross, told The Globe and Mail last week how Mr. Jones was hired to deal with paperwork after Mr. Ross, a painter, died Oct. 18.
Instead, the entire estate, in the low six figures, disappeared. Ms. Ross alleges that Mr. Jones forged signatures of Mr. Ross's daughters to drain accounts.
She said her family was grieving and vulnerable. They were among Mr. Jones's last new clients.
"We were really unlucky," Ms. Ross said.
Mr. Jones "came into our father's home, where [Mr. Ross's]paintings were still on the wall," she said. "He must have known he was going to rob us. How can someone do such a thing?"Report Typo/Error