THUNDER BAY – The lead investigator into the charges of extortion against Keith and Marisa Hobbs and Mary Voss, suggested Marisa Hobbs was using Voss during an interview in 2017.
“Do you not see how Marisa has used you?” asked Det. Insp. Martin Graham with the Ontario Provincial Police and lead investigator into the extortion charges against the three.
“I guess so,” Voss replied.
“The truth will set you free,” Graham said. “I think you are having trouble remembering because you are having trouble remembering what you were supposed to say according to Marisa.”
Videotaped statements from two of the three accused continued in court on Monday to start Week 3 of the trial against former Thunder Bay mayor Keith Hobbs, his wife Marisa Hobbs, and local resident, Voss.
The three are accused of extorting a victim to purchase a home for Voss worth more than $400,000 with threats of handing incriminating evidence to police.
Both Marisa Hobbs and Voss expressed more disbelief at the idea of being charged with extortion, while the investigator tried portraying Marisa Hobbs as using Voss.
In the early portion of the more than four-hour video recorded on April 27, 2017, Voss is asked about her communications with Keith and Marisa Hobbs and whether or not they asked the victim for any money.
Graham then reads from a text message between Voss and Marisa Hobbs on Nov. 15, 2016.
“’Marisa, I don’t think Mr. Hobbs should ask for any money,’” Graham reads. “He should leave it to (the victim), otherwise he will say I am extorting him or blackmailing him and he will lay a charge on me.’ What does that mean?”
“When I went to mayor Hobbs, and I told him that (the victim) wants to buy me a house, and I don’t like that house,” Voss said referring to an Edward Street property for $265,000. “He said, OK what if he gives you money. I said please don’t ask him for any money.”
Graham then asked about a message between Voss and Marisa Hobbs during which Voss said: ‘I let him sweat a bit.’
“Do you agree, you are letting (the victim) sweat a bit,” Graham asked.
"I am trying to remember what that conversation was,” Voss said. “It looks horrible."
Last week the court was also shown a video of Voss’s statement to Graham recorded on March 17, 2017.
In the statement, Voss expresses disbelief that she was being investigated for extortion in relation to the alleged victim.
Graham references the agreement signed by Voss, Keith and Marisa Hobbs, and the victim, stating the victim would purchase a $429,000 house for Voss and no one would go to police with incriminating evidence of the victim.
“All these things I didn’t write them,” Voss said. “(The victim) told the mayor to write them. I didn’t write them.”
“Can I tell you what I think happened?” Graham said. “I know Keith and Marisa Hobbs were struggling for money and they were looking to (the victim) to get a loan. What I think happened is they were looking to you through this agreement that they could get a loan from you.”
Graham added because Voss would own the home outright, she could borrow against the mortgage, to which Voss repeated that she did not write the words in the agreement and that she had in fact not even read it before signing.
“Like I said, I didn’t read it,” she said. “The trouble is, I trusted (the victim). I trusted him.”
Voss added Keith and Marisa Hobbs were involved because she went to them for help.
Toward the end of the videotaped statement, Voss breaks down into tears, saying she trusted the victim and questioned why he was doing this to her.
“Why did you do this? You hate me that much?” Voss said. “To write something like that for me to sign? When I was with you, I treated you like a kin. I didn’t come to you to take your money and run away.”
“All I wanted was peace. Whatever it is, sign it, and I will have peace.”
Second statement from Marisa Hobbs
A second videotaped statement by Marisa Hobbs recorded on April 24, 2017 with Graham was also shown to the court Monday morning.
In the videotaped statement, Marisa Hobbs presented a document written by Keith Hobbs reiterating what he stated during his recorded interview with Graham that he and his wife did not extort the victim and were only trying to help Voss.
“It is no wonder I terminated the interview,” Keith Hobbs wrote in his statement read by Graham. “I accused (Graham) of tunnel vision and offered to take a polygraph. I have cooperated with the police at every opportunity. I want this nonsense to stop. (The victim) is pointing a finger and the police are buying it.”
Graham also questioned Marisa Hobbs about deleted messages from her cellphone between herself and Keith Hobbs.
“Unlike other contacts on your phone, you deleted all the messaging between you and Keith right in the time your husband Keith is trying, he knows the OPP are looking into this,” Graham said.
Marisa Hobbs said she sometimes deletes messages, particularly if they involve an argument between her and Keith.
“Sometimes between a husband a wife, you fight a little,” she said. “It had nothing to do with (the victim).”
In the first videotaped statement recorded March 14 by Marisa Hobbs, she became visibly upset at the allegations of extortion, and when Graham returned to the allegations during the second statement, she became upset again.
“We’re so tired. We want this to stop,” she said. “What can we do? We will do a lie detector.”
Graham said a polygraph test would not be appropriate in this situation.
“In your eyes and in Keith’s eyes, you don’t believe you extorted him,” Graham said. “What I’m saying, when I show people what you and Keith have said and what Mary had said, when you have said it, and then what you did with that information, culminating in the creation of that document, there isn’t anybody so far that has come up with other than that is a document to extort.”
“I know what it looks like to you,” Marisa Hobbs said.
Hobbs added that she thought detectives were supposed to be impartial and accused Graham of seeing something that isn’t there and that she will end up being charged.
“No matter what I say or do this is what you are going to do,” she said.
Complete coverage of Hobbs trial:
Day 1: Keith Hobbs trial starts today
Witness testifies of interactions between Hobbs and alleged extortion victim
Day 2: Details of extortion allegations heard at Hobbs trial
Day 3: Videos from USB drive given by Hobbs shown in court
Day 4: Alleged extortion victim calls behaviour in videos horrid and awful