April 18th, 2024

Who owes the biggest penalties to B.C.’s securities watchdog?

By The Canadian Press, The Canadian Press on March 5, 2024.

British Columbia's provincial flag flies on a flagpole in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. The British Columbia Securities Commission has levied about $430 million in unpaid fines and disgorgement orders for breaches of the province's Securities Act. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

The British Columbia Securities Commission has levied about $430 million in unpaid fines and disgorgement orders for breaches of the province’s Securities Act. Here are some of those who have the largest unpaid amounts:

MICHAEL LATHIGEE AND EARLE PASQUILL: $51.7 million

The commission says Lathigee and Pasquill committed fraud while controlling a group of companies under the banner of the Freedom Investment Club, raising money from nearly 700 investors in 2008. The pair were banned from the market in 2015. The commission earlier ordered them to disgorge $21.7 million and pay administrative penalties of $15 million each, triggering years of litigation that continues to this day.

SEAN KIM: $47.1 million

The commission says Kim fleeced members of Korean religious communities with spurious promises of 60 per cent annual returns on investments. He fled to South Korea where he was arrested. The Globe and Mail reported in 2011 he was serving a 10-year prison term there. The commission says it has managed to collect about $57,000 from Kim, who was fined $31.4 million and ordered to disgorge $15.7 million.

RASHIDA SAMJI: $43.8 million

The commission says Samji, a former notary public, told investors their money would be used to finance a winery in B.C., but in fact, it was used to fuel a Ponzi scheme that ran from 2003 to 2012. The commission fined her $33 million in 2015 and ordered her to pay a further $10.8 million it said she owed investors. Samji was sentenced to six years in prison by a B.C. provincial court in 2016.

RACHEL ZHU AND GUANG ZHANG: $37 million

Zhu and Zhang, the owners of Bossteam E-Commerce Inc., owe $37 million in unpaid sanctions. Both former residents of Burnaby, B.C., the pair were banned from the market in 2015 after the commission found they’d perpetrated “large-scale fraudulent illegal distributions of securities.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2024.

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