Canada
Self-styled apocalypse guru on the lam after Canadian kids seized

Credits: CAPTURE D'ÉCRAN/TVA NOUVELLES/J.E

MICHEL JEAN | QMI AGENCY

MONTREAL - A self-styled guru at the centre of a massive child-seizure case gave an exclusive interview to QMI Agency from his U.S. desert hideout.

Marcel Pontbriand, 53, says the Mafia put a contract on his head. QMI Agency agreed to keep the precise location of his whereabouts a secret.

Pontbriand made headlines in November when Canadian authorities took custody of 12 children who had been living with him and his followers in Marana, Ariz.

Several Quebecers have said their children and grandchildren moved to Arizona over the past two years to live with Pontbriand, whom they said convinced them the world would end on Dec. 12, 2012.

Some feared Pontbriand was planning a mass suicide.

Pontbriand told QMI Agency the claims that he was an exorcist and a healer are untrue, even though he said he was advised by his lawyer to plead guilty after Quebec's order of physicians charged him with practising medicine illegally. He was fined $600.

He said it's been several years since he has seen any of the roughly 30 Quebecers who followed him to the U.S.

Pontbriand also discussed his role in a technology company that went bust in 2007.

Quebec's financial watchdog accused Pontbriand of bilking 130 people out of $650,000. But Pontbriand said that he "did everything for that company."

He has pleaded guilty to 20 charges under Quebec financial-regulation laws.

He is currently living with his wife and two kids, while Quebec's director of youth protection tries to track him down.

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