On July 8, 2011, the British Columbia Securities Commission announced its Criminal Investigations Team arrested Ronald James Conn and his wife, Sze Man “Ella” Conn.

The Conns were arrested in Vancouver on June 28, 2011 by members of the BCSC’s Criminal Investigations Team, with assistance from the Vancouver Police Department.

It is alleged that Ronald Conn and Ella Conn solicited over a million dollars from 21 different investors between July of 2008 and September of 2010. The allegations have not been proven.

This is the third arrest for Ronald Conn and the second arrest for Ella Conn related to illegal trading in the securities. The couple have allegedly used various methods to contact investors.

In April 2011, the Saanich Police and the team arrested Ralph Kelly, 46, a Colwood resident, Garrett Campbell, 30, a Colwood resident, and Frank Joseph Pecorelli, 33, a Saanich resident. Multiple charges were recommended, including Fraud Over $5,000.00 and various Securities Act violations. Again, these allegations have not been proven.

Both Ronald Conn and Ralph Kelly received trading bans and fines after being sanctioned by BCSC panels.

In light of these recent arrests, we want to remind people to investigate before investing. Below are a few tools that will help you do your due diligence.

National Disciplined Persons List

Sanctioned individuals appear on the Canadian Securities Administrators national disciplined persons list, which is available through InvestRight. The list is a valuable resource for investors who are conducting background checks on individuals who are selling investment products.

If you come across a person that is offering an investment product who is on the list, we encourage you to report it to us immediately.

Court Services Online

BC’s Ministry of the Attorney General provides this searchable database to the public. You can search Court Services Online for documents on civil and criminal matters. Searching an individual’s name will provide you with file numbers, court dates, and court locations. Cases the BCSC is pursuing through Crown counsel normally show up in a search. If you see civil or criminal court cases related to an individual who is selling investment products and you have concerns, you can contact our inquiries group to ask questions.

Investing in Private companies

If an individual is offering you an investment in a private company (a non-prospectus company), there are rules he needs to follow. Most of the BCSC’s illegal distribution cases relate to the sale of non-registered (private company) securities to unqualified investors.

InvestRight has a Guide on investing in private companies. All of these resources inform you about the rules and risks involved with this type of investment product.

Suggested Reading

BCSC presents Be Fraud Aware: The Musical in Victoria to help British Columbians become smarter investors

Being proactive is key in preventing investor fraud

Fortune Investment Group and five other names added to BCSC’s caution list

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