March 5, 2008

Vancouver – The British Columbia Securities Commission and the Manitoba Securities Commission are investigating an investment that offers people an unusually high annual return – 87.5 per cent – and commissions for bringing in new investors.

The regulators have reports that residents of British Columbia and Manitoba (as well as elsewhere in Canada) have been approached to invest in a ‘family and friends private placement program’ in which Gold-Quest International, an offshore company, would trade in foreign exchange markets (forex) on their behalf.

In addition, persons purporting to represent Gold-Quest have told investors they can also earn money by referring new investors to the program. They are offered an immediate commission of 10 per cent of the amount a referred person invests and an ongoing monthly commission of four per cent for 12 months. These promoters are not licenced or registered to sell securities in either British Columbia or Manitoba.

Investors send their money – reportedly as low as $500 US – to California banks and receive information and documents back from Nevada-based operations. Investments can be made through online payment systems. Typically, promoters of the investment recruit investors through newspaper advertisements, word-of-mouth and special meetings.

Concerned investors or members of the public who have been approached or have information about this investment are urged to contact the BCSC or MSC, or their local securities regulator. The BCSC and MSC are actively investigating this matter.

The BCSC and MSC strongly encourage investors to be cautious about any investment that bears the following Red Flags:

  • Unreasonable or guaranteed high annual returns (with little or no risk)
  • Insider tip/membership opportunity or secrecy (usually with an urgency to act quickly)
  • Money is moved offshore (references to tax avoidance)
  • Profit like the ‘experts’
  • Great investment opportunity (‘your friends can’t be wrong’)

B.C. investors can report a suspicious investment or inquire about any investment or a financial adviser, by contacting the BCSC at 604-899-6854 or 1-800-373-6393 (toll-free in BC & Alberta). Manitoba investors can contact the MSC at 204-945-2548 or toll-free at 1-800-655-5244 about any suspicious investment opportunity to find out what they can do.

The B.C. Securities Commission is the independent provincial government agency responsible for regulating trading in securities within the province.

The Manitoba Securities Commission is an independent agency of the Government of Manitoba that protects investors and promotes fair and efficient capital markets throughout the province.

Media contacts:

Ken Gracey British Columbia Securities Commission 604-899-6577

Ainsley Cunningham Manitoba Securities Commission 204-945-4733

Suggested Reading

BCSC Releases Research Findings on Canadian Investors

BCSC Seeks to Return Funds Lost in Shantz Case

Hedge funds beware

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