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A Chilliwack waitress’s life-changing encounter with ‘wealthy’ con artist

Glenda Toews wrote ‘Spinning on a Barstool’ after losing tens of thousands of dollars in alleged fraud
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Glenda Toews, seen here at Corky’s Irish Pub in Chilliwack, wrote ‘Spinning on a Barstool’ after she was allegedly scammed $60,000 by a con artist. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story mentions suicide.

A Chilliwack waitress has penned a true story about meeting the ‘wealthiest man in the world.’

“I don’t advertise it as what the book is about because the story is so spectacular and the ending just hits you in the face,” said Glenda Toews. “At the end of the day, it was a huge scam.”

She wrote Spinning on a Barstool after losing tens of thousands of dollars in an alleged fraud.

Glenda has worked at Corky’s Irish Pub in Chilliwack for 14 years and it was there that she met Daryl Schmidt during the pandemic, back in August 2020, when he stepped into the pub for some drinks.

“He was unassuming. He didn’t wear jewelry, he wasn’t flashy, he was very clean.”

He started coming into Corky’s daily and Glenda got to know him better as the months went on.

He said he was from the Cayman Islands and he was married to a Canadian woman. They couldn’t fly back to the Cayman Islands because of COVID restrictions. Daryl said he started the very first Cactus Club, owned casinos all over the world, and was the owner of the Los Angeles Chargers football team and SoFi Stadium. He said he owned Google, MGM in Vegas, and recently bought Amazon.

But, if anyone googled his name, it would come up blank.

No one would find information on him because “his security wipes everything,” she recalled him saying to her.

“He said, ‘We let people – like Elon Musk and Bill Gates – be the centre stage. The real wealth, it lies beneath them. The world thinks they are, but the real wealth, they stay away from the spotlight,’” she said. “It was quite intriguing.”

He would go into in-depth details about his stories, keeping everything consistent.

“He’s not stupid. He’s actually very brilliant.”

Daryl and Glenda became very good friends – he and his wife would hang out regularly with Glenda and her husband. Later, Glenda would even call Daryl her best friend.

About three to four months in, Daryl offered Glenda a chance to invest in hedge funds.

She started by giving him a few thousand dollars – it was her tip money, her “rainy day” money. Some of the money she invested was for herself, but most of it was for friends and family members. The plan was to leave the money for a year and then surprise those people later.

“I thought if I lose it, it’s not a big deal.”

The beginning of the Foundation of Hope

More months passed when Daryl and Glenda started talking about doing good in the community and also in Ukraine and Germany, where Glenda’s two daughters live. They were going to help the homeless in Chilliwack, offer aid to Ukrainian grandmothers who had been abandoned, and help less-fortunate people in Germany.

She called it Foundation of Hope. Daryl, Glenda and others all put in money to launch it.

Daryl led her to believe everything was in the works as the months went on. But there were delays. Daryl decided to divorce his wife who was apparently stealing millions from him. Then his father died, and then his mom died.

He’d use local news stories and world headlines to his advantage, weaving them into his stories.

In November 2021, there were problems getting bank cards mailed out because roads were closed due to flooding and snow storms. He claimed the reason for other delays in starting up the two charities in Europe had to do with world events, like Russia invading Ukraine and an election in Germany.

It was just a coincidence that the two charities happened to be connected to countries making headlines.

“The universe fit beautifully,” she said.

She kept investing and waiting, investing and waiting. Over the months, it ballooned from giving him a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.

“You’re up and down with emotions because you’re like, ‘Really? Another delay, another delay, another delay?’ And then you’re wondering if it’s true.”

One day a friend messaged Glenda with a link to a Calgary Herald news story about a convicted fraudster named Daryl Heiligsetzer. According to the Herald, Heiligsetzer went to prison in 2005 for committing a $1.5-million investment fraud, and then was out on parole in 2015 when he was alleged to have committed a similar scam, duping approximately 45 investors of more than $400,000.

She looked closely at the photo under the headline. It was an image of a younger Daryl.

Daryl Schmidt was Daryl Heiligsetzer.

“First, I was relieved because it was true. For a year and a half, it was like this hope dangling and you’re never getting it.”

Then she started wondering what the bigger picture was. What else was he planning on doing? Was he going to hack her bank accounts?

Glenda was paranoid for about two months as she put alerts on social insurance numbers and changed bank account numbers.

She went to RCMP, they opened up a file, but she claimed police said there wasn’t much they could do.

“What can I do then?” she recalled asking an officer. “He said, ‘You can tell your story.’ So, here I am. I wrote the book.”

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Glenda Toews wrote ‘Spinning on a Barstool’ after she was allegedly scammed $60,000 by a con artist. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Spinning on a Barstool is all about Daryl’s stories and Glenda’s ups and downs of waiting. Emails have been printed word for word in the book.

In the end, after being involved in a scam that lasted a year and a half, Glenda lost roughly $60,000.

She admits she had some dark thoughts.

“When you hear of people being scammed big and they kill themselves, I get it. It’s got nothing to do with the money. It really comes down to complete and utter humiliation.

“When a person falls for something like that, you (hear) all those voices of every insecurity you ever had in your life,” she said, choking back tears. “You brought so much hope to people, to your kids, and you have to go and say, ‘No, none of that’s happening.’”

Insp. Jeff Bowerman confirmed Chilliwack RCMP did conduct an investigation into Glenda’s file.

“Any criminal fraud reported to the police is investigated,” he stated in an email to The Chilliwack Progress. “This investigation is currently closed and should new information be received can be re-opened.”

He could not comment on the details of the investigation.

Spinning back to a good cause

Glenda says she wrote Spinning on a Barstool for a few reasons.

“I really wanted it in every pub and restaurant in all of B.C. and moving through Canada … so that people are aware that the person that’s sitting beside them could be Daryl.”

He has also used the name Daryl Smythe, Glenda added.

Secondly, she’s hoping she can do some good with book sales by raising money for the three charities they had planned to start under Foundation of Hope.

Seventy per cent from each book purchase will go to Foundation of Hope while the other 30 per cent will help Glenda recoup her bad investment.

People can purchase Spinning on a Barstool by Glenda Toews for about $24 at various locations online. For more info, go to glendatoews.com or email info@glendatoews.com.

The Chilliwack Progress attempted to contact Daryl via email and two phone numbers. There was no reply to the email, and one phone number was no longer in service. When the reporter called the second phone number and asked if she was speaking with Daryl, the man who answered said: “No, sorry you’ve got the wrong number. I think I’ve got his old phone.”

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Jenna Hauck

About the Author: Jenna Hauck

I started my career at The Chilliwack Progress in 2000 as a photojournalist.
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