March 3rd, 2024

B.C. secures largest civil forfeiture of its kind at $10 million

By The Canadian Press on December 19, 2023.

B.C. Solicitor General Mike Farnworth looks on at the legislature in Victoria on Thursday, October 5, 2023. The province says its office targeting proceeds of unlawful activity has secured a $10-million forfeiture, the largest of its kind in the history of the program since it launched in 2006. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

VICTORIA – The British Columbia government says its civil forfeiture office has secured $10 million from a company that provided payment processing services for people found guilty or who are alleged to have been running scams against vulnerable seniors.

Solicitor General Mike Farnworth says the settlement agreement with PacNet Services Ltd. is the largest forfeiture in the history of the program that started in 2006.

Under the settlement deal, there is “no admission or finding of unlawful activity on the part of PacNet” or its principals, while the company agrees to forfeit $10 million.

Farnworth says in a statement that the forfeiture is “a clear message” that the province will “continue to take decisive action against suspected proceeds of unlawful activity.”

The government statement says PacNet was a money-service business that was headquartered in B.C. but processed payments for clients around the world, including individuals who allegedly operated scams targeting seniors.

Documents filed in B.C.’s Supreme Court show authorities in the United States were investigating mass-mailed solicitations believed to be exploiting “vulnerable groups” and “referred potential civil forfeiture of PacNet’s assets” to the B.C. Civil Forfeiture Office.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 19, 2023.

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