Brian Malley

Brian Malley
Crime: Murder

Brian Malley seems an unlikely sort of killer. He was the respected owner of a money management firm, Assante Wealth Management, in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada. He advised people about investments for a living, so people trusted him. They shouldn’t have.

Definitely Victoria Shachtay shouldn’t have trusted Brian Malley. But he was a close friend of her stepfather, Rick Bercier, and by that association he knew all about the young woman’s difficult situation.

In 2004, Victoria Shachtay was a pregnant teenager from Innisfail, Alberta. A month before she gave birth to a baby girl, she was involved in a terrible car crash. She was severely injured and was left paralyzed. How absolutely devastating. To be a teen mom is hard enough, but to be suddenly rendered a quadriplegic must be a nightmare.

In 2007, Victoria Shachtay’s luck changed — she received a settlement that, after lawyer fees and such, was worth $575,000. With proper financial management, that amount might have supported the disabled woman and her daughter. She knew she needed financial management — enter family friend Brian Malley.

Apparently $575,000 wasn’t a big enough investment. Brian Malley convinced Victoria Shachtay to borrow an additional $265,000 to add to the pot.

At first everything went so-so. During the first half of 2008 the investment sat at $839,000. Then, horror of horrors, the economic downturn happened. By November 2008 the investment dropped by $390,000. Ouch! That left $449,000 remaining with a large portion of that owing for the bank loan.

But Brian Malley didn’t tell his client that things were going down the crapper. He didn’t cash out the remaining investments and hand the money back to Victoria Shachtay. Nope, he decided to continue “financially managing” her money.

By April 2011, the money was all gone. There was nothing of the settlement or the borrowed money left. Zip, zero, nada.

Investment manager Brian Malley incredibly chose not to tell Victoria Shachtay that she was now broke. He decided instead to cover up the losses.

And so, when Victoria Shachtay tried to cash her monthly cheques, often she would find the money wasn’t in her account. She would phone or sometimes travel to the Assante Wealth Management office to direct Brian Malley to put funds into her account. And he would.

See, in order to conceal the truth about her investments, Brian Malley transferred money from his own personal accounts to Victoria Shachtay. In all, he transferred about $44,000. And apparently he resented having to do that — even though it was his own brilliant idea. He resented her queries about her money and having to lie. He really resented her trips to his office and those awkward appointments.

Brian Malley considered Victoria Shachtay a pain in the ass, and said as much to his executive assistant, Barbara Tblus. He considered she was lazy and annoying.

I don’t know exactly why Brian Malley didn’t just come clean with Victoria Shachtay. I know she would have been devastated because she’d been counting on that money to support herself and her daughter. Was it out of the goodness of his heart that he kept quiet? Not likely!

My hunch is that he just didn’t want word to get out that he was a profound failure as a financial advisor. His business might suffer or die if people learned how he’d bankrupted a young, handicapped mother. And he must have had no doubt that Victoria Shachtay and her family would have told everyone about her misfortune.

IMO, Brian Malley did not want to endanger his business and his $600,000 per year income. He could easily afford to keep paying the woman. She need never know how he’d blown the entire $840,000 through bad investments.

Of course the point came when Victoria Shachtay did learn the truth. In July 2011, Brian Malley had gone on a fishing trip, and while he was away she called his office. She couldn’t talk to him, so she talked to his executive assistant. Ooops.

Victoria Shachtay asked outright how much money was in her account. Barbara Tblus told her the truth — the account was empty and closed.

Victoria ShachtayI can’t imagine the shock that the young, disabled mother felt when she heard the news. It’s not like she had money in reserve. She had a young daughter to raise, and being paralyzed made everything difficult. She used a wheelchair, had limited movement in her arms, and relied on the assistance of a caregiver.

Without that money coming in, Victoria Shachtay was in a real mess. The poor woman even tried to get a job, but had no luck.

And so Victoria Shachtay did what she could — she applied to the government program AISH (Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped).

I don’t know what discussions Brian Malley had with Victoria Shachtay about the situation, but he continued making payments. Maybe he’d tried to convince her that her account wasn’t empty. But he had decided right then, in July 2011, that he wanted out of the stupid situation he’d created. And to get out, he had concocted a truly evil solution.

How do we know Brian Malley had decided upon his solution in July 2011? That’s when he bought a 6 inch long, 2 inch wide galvanized steel nipple pipe with threading at both ends, and one end cap. He later bought gunpowder and light bulbs.

On October 15, 2011 Brian Malley made a final payment to Victoria Shachtay. But that wasn’t the last thing he gave her.

On November 25, 2011, Victoria Shachtay’s caregiver found a mystery Christmas gift on the doorstep and brought it inside. There it stayed while the two women went to Rick Bercier’s house for a while.

When told of the mystery package, Rick Bercier urged his stepdaughter to call the police. He must have gotten a bad feeling about it.

When they returned home, the caregiver told Victoria Shachtay, “Don’t open the gift … we don’t know who it came from.” But tragically the trusting woman was more curious than afraid.

Crime sceneOf course it wasn’t a Christmas gift. It was a bomb. The instant the poor woman opened the package it detonated and killed her. She was only 23 years old.

Thank gawd her 6-year-old daughter wasn’t home at the time of the explosion. And thank gawd the caregiver wasn’t caught in the blast too.

Naturally, the community was shocked that a young, handicapped mother was killed by a bomb. Who the hell would do such a horrible thing? Fearing the attack was random, the RCMP called in bomb squad experts from Ottawa.

On November 28, 2011, Brian Malley was interviewed by the police. Victoria Shachtay had told her family her money was gone and she didn’t know where or how that happened. Learning that, the police definitely wanted to know about the money.

Brian Malley actually had the nerve to blame the victim for spending too much. And then, just to spread the blame further, he suggested the police should check into her brother or a possible drug connection.

Can you imagine? First he murders a young, handicapped mother, and then he tries to make her grieving family the target of the police investigation! Horrible!

Brian Malley’s efforts to misdirect the police were for naught. The investigators had found some DNA on pieces of the package the bomb was placed in, and they were pretty sure it would match Brian Malley’s. The trick was getting his DNA sample.

On ten days between January and May 2012, police put surveillance on their suspect. Ultimately they scored a napkin he’d used at a Wendy’s restaurant. Doncha know — the DNA matched!

Brian Malley was arrested in Red Deer on May 25th, 2012. Police conducted a search of his residence and found evidence linking him to the bomb. He was charged with 1st-degree murder.

It must have been a major relief to the people of Innisfail to know that there wasn’t some maniac roaming about, randomly bombing people.

While Brian Malley was parked in the Red Deer Remand Centre, he had a visit from his business partner. He made a strange request of the man — he asked him to buy a canister of gunpowder. Hmmmm, maybe he wanted to replace the gunpowder he’d purchased in an effort to convince the court he hadn’t used it yet.

Brian Malley was released on bail on June 29, 2012. He moved in with his mother-in-law in Edmonton, Alberta until his trial in January 2015.

Brian MalleyThe case against Brian Malley was admittedly circumstantial. He had bought gunpowder, the pipe and light bulbs, all of which were components of the bomb. The defense argued the gunpowder was for hunting, the pipe was for renovations he’d done on his mother-in-law’s house, and light bulbs are a common, unremarkable purchase.

And as for the DNA on paper found at the crime scene? Well, Victoria Shachtay was Brian Malley’s client, and so naturally she’d have some paperwork in her home from his office.

And what about the missing money? Well, Victoria Shachtay was a profligate spender. She spent it! And the economic downturn had also depleted the value of her investment.

And what about the money Brian Malley was putting into the victim’s account? Well, Brian Malley was a wonderful, generous man who felt bad for the poor woman.

Crown prosecutor Anders Quist had a different version of reality that he presented to the jury. “It was clear that Victoria Shachtay was a difficult client for Brian Malley. She didn’t have a job and she lived off of subsidy. Mr. Malley wanted their relationship to end. He thought she was lazy and annoying. He wanted to get her investment back to book value and then terminate their relationship – but it never got back to book value – it got down to zero.”

The prosecutor pointed out that the DNA evidence was key. “There is no evidence that Mr. Malley ever went inside Victoria Shachtay’s residence. Mr. Malley’s DNA was found on a piece of tape, paper and cardboard (that was on the package delivered to Shachtay’s residence). I suggest to you that Mr. Malley’s DNA was on the bomb package because Mr. Malley put the package there.”

On February 25, 2015 the jury, after deliberating for 6 hours, found Brian Malley guilty of 1st-degree murder, as well as causing an explosion and delivering an explosive device.

“It was a circumstantial case and it was not easy to put all the pieces of it together. We were able to put the pieces together, the jury could see it was there, they could understand, they found there was no reasonable doubt and they did the right thing,” said Crown prosecutor Anders Quist.

The verdict means Brian Malley, 57, will serve an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years

Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Kirk Sisson additionally imposed concurrent, two-year terms for each of the two lesser counts.

Brian Malley will not be eligible for parole until he is 82 years old. Considering he deprived a young girl of her mother, he deserves it.

Victoria Shachtay’s daughter is being raised by relatives. I hope the girl grows up remembering how much her mother loved her. I hope she has a happy, successful future ahead of her.

RIP, Victoria Shachtay. I extend my condolences to her family and friends. I hope that seeing her killer incarcerated for life will bring them solace.

I feel terrible for Brian Malley’s family. It must be absolutely inconceivable to them that any of this has happened. Nothing he’d ever done before had ever indicated that he was capable of murder. And what a horrible murder it was! I wish his family well.

National Post article – charges
Carstairs Courier article – trial
Calgary Herald article – caregiver testimony
Calgary Herald article – jury deliberating
Red Deer Express article – guilty
Red Deer Advocate article – timeline

6 Responses to Brian Malley

  1. Bengalpuss says:

    His criminal activities were as shit as his investment activities, fucking shit. Poor woman, she really were dealt a bad hand in this life. And i wish her daughter all the best and a good future.

  2. moodymagic says:

    I hope this murderer enjoys his life in prison. To bad it is a Canadian Prison. I to wish Victoria’s daughter all the best in life.

  3. 2cute says:

    Evil bastard! He could’ve killed the little girl, the caregiver and the stepfather too! A bomb isn’t picky. He totally didn’t care so long as the victim died. Heartless bastard!

    • Leo says:

      All he cares about is money at the expense of everything else. I knew this man and if he ever gets out of jail it will be too soon.

  4. bulldoggy says:

    He must’ve been unhinged. Nothing he did was rational.

  5. Linda Ellis says:

    He was someone I trusted and I had no reason to suspect he was such a heartless narcacistic psychopath… he robbed our and many others of their money. That alone was not enough, and then to imagine a man and his wife (let’s not forget how she played a role) murdered a young mother.
    If you ever read this Brian and Christine, I hope you both live the rest of your life, in agony and pain. You prayed on innocent people who trusted and believed in you both for years.

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