COVID-19: Vancouver man who ran illegal party sentenced to 29 days in jail

© Provided by Vancouver Sun Vancouver Police on scene at Telus Gardens in Vancouver on Jan. 31, 2021.

A repeat COVID-19 scofflaw has been sent to jail for 29 days.

Mohammad Movassaghi, 43, first got into trouble running a makeshift nightclub in his Downtown Vancouver penthouse in January against COVID health regulations and was hit with a number of court orders.

Vancouver police said Movassaghi began violating those court orders in August by hosting more for-profit penthouse parties, which prompted a second VPD investigation.

That led to his arrest Wednesday night on two charges of failing to comply with an order of the health officer and one count of selling liquor, according to the VPD.

Const. Tania Visintin said in a statement that Movassaghi pleaded guilty. Besides the jail time, he was fined $10,000 and put on probation for 12 months.

Movassaghi first came to police attention after a witness called cops to report a large party inside a condo near Richards and Georgia streets. Investigators allege Movassaghi was running an illegal booze can and show lounge inside his 1,100-square-foot penthouse, packing it with hundreds of people, and violating COVID health orders.

He was arrested on Jan. 31 after officers seized large quantities of cash, liquor and credit card machines.

In April, a B.C. provincial court judge compared his actions with selling the powerful opioid fentanyl on the street. Judge Ellen Gordon described the event as “a crime, not a party,” and something attended by people “foolish enough” to put their and their grandmothers’ health at risk.

“If someone who had been at your party was infected and died, as far as I’m concerned, you’re guilty of manslaughter. If someone who had been at your party was infected and passed it on to grandma, as far as I’m concerned, you’re guilty of manslaughter,” she told him.

He was sentenced to one day in jail, fined $5,000 and given 18 months’ probation.

The director of civil forfeiture has also filed a claim in B.C. Supreme Court alleging Movassaghi’s $2.8 million condo was used to engage in unlawful activities and should be forfeited.

— VANCOUVER SUN, With files from The Canadian Press