Did the Alberta Securities Commission (“ASC”) protect the investors in a recent matter they allowed to be “settled” without going to a hearing? Allegations of misleading/untrue statements to investors, illegal trading, and FRAUD were brought forward in a November 2015 Notice of Hearing against Douglas Vermeeren of Calgary, Alberta.
Looking at the math in the Vermeeren Settlement Agreement, we see he raised $735,000 from 43 unsuspecting investors. David Linder (the Executive Director for the ASC) went on to state that Vermeeren “co-mingled funds in the Respondents personal bank account and corporate accounts controlled by the Respondent. Some funds from these accounts were used for personal expenditures and to pay investors. The Respondent did not keep adequate accounting records making it difficult to determine the precise scope of the fraudulent use of the investors funds.” Furthermore, later in the same document, Linder goes on to state, “Some of the Investors funds were used for third-party lending.”
Of the $735,000 raised, only $382,971 (a mere 52%) was paid back to the investors – leaving a balance of $352,029 not returned.
HERE IS WHERE PEOPLE HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO SHAKE THEIR HEADS – the ASC went on to negotiate a settlement of only $120,000 for ALL wrongdoing plus charge him a meager $10,000 to cover the cost of the investigation into his businesses. They went on to issue him a 10-year ban from securities market but allowed him, “in his personal capacity, and for the benefit of his family to trade in or purchasing in exchange listed securities…”
Let’s get this straight – this man was alleged to have committed fraud, took $735,000 from the public, paid back only 52% of the money to his investors – and then only has to come up with $130,000 and sit on the sidelines for 10 years? The investors are out 48% of their money but the ASC gets their $130,000? What happened to the other $352,000 the investors are out? Who is protecting these people and who is going to get their money back?
This is insane! It appears the ASC are run just the same as their sister-affiliation to the west – the “wonderful” BCSC. They do not have the best interest of the investors – this is very clear!
Looking back at another matter before the ASC, we see that this is NOT the first time ASC Executive Director David Linder has been very liberal giving out punishment – we blogged back in June 2016 that the ASC handled another matter regarding the business dealings of League Financial in an atrocious manner – where investors reportedly lost $370 MILLION and the people behind the company were fined a dismal $250,000 by the ASC.
Alberta really is the WILD, WILD WEST!
NOTE: Looking quickly into Vermeeren, we see he is jet-setting to places in both the USA and the United Kingdom applying his trade – stopped in Alberta but still going strong in other areas it would appear. We wonder if he still has the same book keeping skills this time around?