Why Isn't This Guy Facing Criminal Charges?


SLM
#1
Financial adviser faked signatures, couple out $80K

CBC – 2 hours 47 minutes ago


CBC/CBC - Elaine and Don Hotchkiss had $268,000 from the proceeds of their home, which they needed to purchase a new home. They lost $80,000 of that when their investment adviser gambled it on high risk investments, against their wishes

An Ontario couple are going public about how a mutual fund salesman “gambled” with their money — and lost $80,000 — by copying their signatures to buy high-risk investments, against their explicit wishes.
“When we gave him the cheque, I said — at least four or five times — ’We can’t afford to lose one cent,’” said Elaine Hotchkiss. “And he kept saying, ‘Trust me. Trust me. Trust me.'”
“We had asked for short-term, low-risk investments,” said her husband Don. “We were both very upset when we found out how much we had lost.”
The retirees from Parry Sound are equally upset that Equity Associates Inc., the Markham firm salesman Mervyn Fried sold through, refused to compensate them for their losses, even after the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments found the company responsible.
“The ombudsman's recommendations have no teeth to make them work,” said Don. “It’s been horrible.”
His wife has since developed a heart condition, which she blames on the stress.
“I never had any health problems prior to this,” said Elaine. “I am now on two heart meds, five times a day. I am furious. And every time this comes up, it starts all over again.”
As a result of this case, Fried’s licence to buy and sell mutual funds is now inactive.
However, he still runs his own company, MJF Financial Consultants, an investment services firm in Concord. His son Hayden is vice-president and is licensed to handle mutual fund purchases.
Six years ago, the couple gave Mervyn Fried $268,000 from the sale of their house to invest just for a few months, because they needed it to pay for a new home.
“We had trusted him to make the right choices for us,” said Don.
He had them write an additional cheque up front — payable to him personally — for $2,680, which represented his one per cent commission.
The couple didn’t know it is against the rules for salespeople to pocket fees from clients like that. Equity Associates later refunded them that amount.
The ombudsman’s investigation found Fried used liquid paper to erase information on old forms the couple had signed for RRSP investments. He copied those to make blank forms with photocopied signatures and used them to buy the high-risk funds.
“When I [later] saw the papers I said, ‘That is not my signature!’” said Elaine.
At the time, Fried already had his commission. He stood to earn another one per cent from the mutual fund companies on the principal plus any gains.
“I have the feeling that he was trying to earn us a little bit more. Get brownie points for that. He’s a hero,” Don said,
Fried invested in the funds when stock markets had dropped, in the summer of 2008. When the bigger crash came that fall, the couple lost 30 per cent of their money for good.
The ombudsman found Fried was “evasive” about the losses and tried to get the couple to leave their money in longer. They had to scramble and borrow to pay for the new home they had already purchased.
“It hurt. It put us in debt for the first time in quite awhile,” said Don. “The dishonesty that he displayed — and the lack of compassion — it really has bothered both of us that anybody can do that.”
The ombudsman concluded Equity Associates should pay the couple back in full, because it allowed Fried to invest their money without knowing what their risk tolerance was.
Mutual fund dealers must obtain a written declaration of a client’s preferences for each investment account. The ombudsman found Equity Associates didn’t do that in this case.
The ombudsman's recommendations aren’t binding, however, and the company refused to compensate. It is among a growing list of dealers refusing to pay in the last three years. Those firms were deemed responsible for a total of $1.4 million worth of client losses.
The Small Investor Protection Association said it believes some dealers are making a concerted effort to undermine the ombudsman’s office, by not paying.
“The industry for whatever reason doesn’t like what the ombudsman is doing. And the way to discredit him is to have a lot of people refuse his recommendations,” said the association president Stan Buell.
The ombudsman said it is also concerned about the spike in refusals, but not for that reason.
“We don’t believe there is a concerted effort to refuse OBSI’s recommendations,” said spokesman Tyler Fleming. He said some companies didn’t have insurance to cover compensation and others were going out of business.
Buell’s organization is lobbying Ottawa to make it mandatory for firms to follow the ombudsman's recommendations.
“It's an abysmal situation. Nobody knows the magnitude of what’s going on. We estimate it’s in the multibillions of dollars Canadians are losing to fraud and wrongdoing within the regulated investment industry," said Buell.
“We feel the government of Canada should step up and do something.”
The national industry regulator will hold a hearing into possible disciplinary action against Fried in September.
Beyond this case, the Mutual Fund Dealers Association (MFDA) also alleges he falsified or copied the signatures of several other clients and improperly pocketed almost $10,000 in fees in 21 cases.
Those allegations have not been proven. Fried has filed a response, denying any wrongdoing.
The regulator said it has disciplined 200 members in the last three years for violations involving blank signed forms, signature falsification and “other issues” involving client signatures.
“Since 2012, the MFDA has implemented a bulk-track process to enable the hearing of multiple hearings in one sitting. This has enabled the MFDA to bring forward a large proportion of blank signed form cases to a hearing in order to send a strong message of general deterrence against this activity,” the regulator said.
The ombudsman said it also hears cases of “signature irregularities,” but it said it doesn’t report them to police.
“We don’t have the same tools as the courts or police to detect criminal activity, nor is it our role to do so. OBSI’s role is to determine whether compensation is warranted, not to sanction or punish individuals or firms,” said Fleming.
Buell said his group reported 10 cases of alleged forgery to the RCMP a few years ago, but nothing came of that.
“I think they should face criminal charges,” said Buell. “It’s common practice. So if you know one person who has been victimized there are probably a hundred or more in the same boat. I see that all the time.”
The mutual fund industry regulator said it initiated discipline against 877 members in the last three years.
It said dealers lost their licences in only four of those cases, though, suggesting most got warnings or cautionary letters.
Buell said he believes industry wrongdoing goes unpunished too often.
"If [salespeople are] absorbed this industry culture and you’ve been doing these things yourself, you don’t really see any harm in it. And maybe they don’t even realize it’s wrong," he said.
“I don’t think the regulators are doing their job."
Equity Associates CEO Bob Goodish didn’t answer Go Public’s requests for a response. Mervyn Fried’s son said his father was out of the country and also refused comment.
Don and Elaine Hotchkiss think it’s outrageous that essentially nothing has come of their case after six years of fighting.
“You become numb after awhile,” said Elaine. “When it starts to affect your health you start to think, 'I have to put this somewhere in a corner and put it away, because it could kill you.'”


http://ca.news.yahoo.com/financial-a...090000859.html
 
Most helpful post: The members here have rated this post as best reply.
JLM
#2
Quote: Originally Posted by SLMView Post

Financial adviser faked signatures, couple out $80K

CBC – 2 hours 47 minutes ago


CBC/CBC - Elaine and Don Hotchkiss had $268,000 from the proceeds of their home, which they needed to purchase a new home. They lost $80,000 of that when their investment adviser gambled it on high risk investments, against their wishes

An Ontario couple are going public about how a mutual fund salesman “gambled” with their money — and lost $80,000 — by copying their signatures to buy high-risk investments, against their explicit wishes.


http://ca.news.yahoo.com/financial-a...090000859.html


The bastard should be in a Gulag in rural Siberia!
 
petros
+3
#3
A fool and his money are soon parted. If you,re going to invest take the time to learn the system or else get used to losing money.
 
IdRatherBeSkiing
+5
#4  Top Rated Post
Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

A fool and his money are soon parted. If you,re going to invest take the time to learn the system or else get used to losing money.

The only thing learned here is trust nobody and put your money in your mattress. It was not lack of knowledge but a fraudster and regulations that people think are protecting them with no legal teath. Need to regulate the hell out of these charlitans with punitive penalties and laws with teeth.
 
SLM
+4
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

A fool and his money are soon parted. If you,re going to invest take the time to learn the system or else get used to losing money.

That was out and out fraud! He faked their signatures. That's not 'the system', that's criminal.
 
JLM
#6
Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

A fool and his money are soon parted. If you,re going to invest take the time to learn the system or else get used to losing money.


It's probably A$$holes like this that are the target of a lot of these drive by shootings! - People like this think they are pretty smart for the short term.

Quote: Originally Posted by SLMView Post

That was out and out fraud! He faked their signatures. That's not 'the system', that's criminal.


Not only that but he's apparently still in the business- formed his own company, if I heard right on the radio this morning.
 
SLM
#7
Quote: Originally Posted by JLMView Post

Not only that but he's apparently still in the business- formed his own company, if I heard right on the radio this morning.

He was stripped of his licence but still operates the business because his son, who works for him, still has a licence.
 
petros
+2
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by IdRatherBeSkiingView Post

The only thing learned here is trust nobody and put your money in your mattress. It was not lack of knowledge but a fraudster and regulations that people think are protecting them with no legal teath. Need to regulate the hell out of these charlitans with punitive penalties and laws with teeth.

If they had the knowledge they'd be ahead with no fees. All CDN bank offer online do-it-yourself trading for dirt cheap from the comfort of home.
 
SLM
+1
#9
Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

If they had the knowledge they'd be ahead with no fees. All CDN bank offer online do-it-yourself trading for dirt cheap from the comfort of home.

That may well be and if it was just a matter of them complaining about the fees or having lost money in Mutual Funds simply by going through a broker, then I'd agree. But this is someone who's offering what is a legitimate professional financial service then perpetrating a fraud. Completely different animal.

I cannot understand why he's not being criminal charged and prosecuted. He forged their signatures.
 
petros
+1
#10
The only thing he is liable for. Losing money is normal for brokers. If they didn't lose money they'd be called richers.
 
JLM
#11
Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

The only thing he is liable for. Losing money is normal for brokers. If they didn't lose money they'd be called richers.


One slight difference here, Petros. He was repeatedly told to invest the money in short term low risk investments. That pretty well limits it to about 4 things, G.I.C.s, Treasury Bills, a Savings Account at the Bank or a Money Market Fund.
 
IdRatherBeSkiing
+1
#12
Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

The only thing he is liable for. Losing money is normal for brokers. If they didn't lose money they'd be called richers.

If he did nothing wrong, why did he lose his liscence? If he has lost his liscence why does he still own an investment firm and why is he not in jail or forced to pay back the stuff he lost/stole?
 
Nuggler
#13
Quote: Originally Posted by IdRatherBeSkiingView Post

If he did nothing wrong, why did he lose his liscence? If he has lost his liscence why does he still own an investment firm and why is he not in jail or forced to pay back the stuff he lost/stole?

Cause Petros says so.
 
petros
#14
Quote: Originally Posted by JLMView Post

One slight difference here, Petros. He was repeatedly told to invest the money in short term low risk investments. That pretty well limits it to about 4 things, G.I.C.s, Treasury Bills, a Savings Account at the Bank or a Money Market Fund.

That is a very limited scope and the worst investments you can make.

If you have at least two grams of functionin grey matter you can easily make money investing.
 
JLM
#15
Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

That is a very limited scope and the worst investments you can make.

If you have at least two grams of functionin grey matter you can easily make money investing.


Depends on the investor, Petros- all investments have risk. These people wanted something where 100% of the principle was 99.9999999999999% safe. You are certainly not going to make money that way but they weren't interested in making money.
 
petros
#16
Risk shcmisk. There is no risk when you pay attention. Were you paying attention when I said gold and silver were going to skyrocket by 400% and 300%? Did it? Did you act on it? There was no risk, just a lack of balls.

I made a killing.
 
JLM
#17
Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

Risk shcmisk. There is no risk when you pay attention. Were you paying attention when I said gold and silver were going to skyrocket by 400% and 300%? Did it? Did you act on it? There was no risk, just a lack of balls.

I made a killing.


What percentage of your net worth did you invest to make "the killing"?
 
petros
+1
#18
$320,000. 100% of my life savings. Sunk the profit into farmland that went from $60K a quarter section to $250K a section in six years.

I paid attention to indicators that screamed go for it.

Goober to advantage of a tip I gave him. Did well I believe.
 
JLM
#19
Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

$320,000. 100% of my life savings. Sunk the profit into farmland that went from $60K a quarter section to $250K a section in six years.

I paid attention to indicators that screamed go for it.

Goober to advantage of a tip I gave him. Did well I believe.


Glad to hear that worked well for you, but it's not for everyone. When investing there's at least three essential considerations.........1. Knowledge, 2. Nerves.....................what is your risk tolerance? and 3. Time Horizon............if you're 20 it's likely long, if you're my age it's likely short! -
 
tay
#20
Why Isn't This Guy Facing Criminal Charges?




That would have been a good question for the Political debate in Ontario last night to see if any of them feel that criminal charges should be laid.


But then again it may be a Federal issue............






Canadian securities regulators are forging ahead with a controversial U.S.-style policy that allows alleged violators of securities law a chance to settle the case without admitting guilt.


This is the kind of practice that allowed CEOs and executives of major banks in the U.S. to get away with alleged criminal activity on Wall Street without ever stepping foot in a courtroom.


The use of no-contest settlements by Canadian security regulators is a new development.




http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?...&jumival=11895






wwwyoutubecomwatchv9pYILfrIkVE



Last edited by tay; Jun 4th, 2014 at 06:45 AM..
 

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