Lessons learned from a financial fraud victim

In a recent column in the Montreal Gazette, Pierre Montreuil, a recent financial fraud victim, calls for a single agency, with serious legislative teeth, to deal with what he calls a “pandemic,” citing the Norbourg and Earl Jones cases that involved many people.

While these particular frauds happened in Quebec, they are the type of fraud that can happen anywhere.

Unfortunately, but not untypically, Mr. Montreuil ended up trying to get some attention to the problem from a variety of sources – two law enforcement agencies and one regulator. He found it frustrating, to say the least, but finally did get some restitution from the regulator.

For the average person, our system of enforcing securities’ law is complicated. Depending on the nature of the contravention and the jurisdiction of the regulator, the case can be dealt with by the regulator or by law enforcement agencies (RCMP, provincial or municipal police) if there is evidence of criminal activity.

We need to do more to help victims in these types of cases. In BC, we are working with the police and other agencies within the securities industry to try to coordinate a victim’s response to their problem, particularly in cases that involve alot of people. Recently we had a case involving members of the South Korean community. We quickly put together a page on our website, provided translation services for victims to call in with their information, and coordinated that information with the other agencies involved.

Mr. Montreuil rightly argues that more “proactive prevention” is required, rather than “the after-the-fact investigations” that are the norm. I couldn’t agree more. But being proactive is not easy. What would really help is for friends and families of the victims to report anything suspicious to the police and to the regulators. You can report online or with a phone call (anonymously if you wish) to BCSC Inquiries.

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