Report it as soon as you are suspicious
There is a story in the Montreal Gazette which talks about how fast a Google post brought Earl Jones to the public and Quebec enforcement agencies’ attention. Six days after Christina Ross made a comment on a Google map site, many of his alleged victims were meeting to discuss what they should do.
We at the BCSC are fascinated by the viral potential of the internet. It continues to be an important tool for the public to find key information about something that is not right.
According to the media reports, the whistleblower experienced months of cancelled meetings, a forged document and three bounced checks. These are all Red Flags and should be immediately reported to the authorities.
Clearly, people are doing a lot of their research on the internet about investments and about individuals. But here’s the real aha of the story. Individuals don’t always report suspicious activities to the authorities.
Maybe it wouldn’t have changed the outcome, but maybe it would have. Securities regulators can move swiftly, freeze bank accounts, perhaps disrupt a ponzi scheme before all of the money disappears. In this case, the regulator (Authorite des marches financiers) did act swiftly once it was notified on July 9th.
So if you are suspicious about what is happening to your money or investments, please report it to the regulator and to law enforcement agencies. You just might save yourself, or someone else from the terrible fate that befell Earl Jones’ clients.