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Fraud Recovery Statistics in Canada Paint a Sad Picture

Canada’s limited enforcement of financial crime comes under scrutiny

Posted by Dawn Lomer on July 2nd, 2012

A recent CBC News report has unveiled that nearly two-thirds of penalties levied by provincial securities regulators across Canada in the past five years have not been paid. For a country that has a reputation for being so “nice”, it’s not a great statistic.

CBC News analyzed data from all the provinces and concluded that only 35.7 per cent of the penalties owed for securities fraud in Canada since 2007 was collected. With $285 million of the $444 million in penalties still outstanding, it looks like fraudsters are getting away their crimes and victims are being denied the restitution they deserve.

The uncollected penalties are comprised of fines, investigation costs, settlement agreements and repayments of ill-gotten gains.

The report noted that Quebec had the best rate of collection, at 77 per cent, while British Columbia had the lowest rate, at 2.9 per cent.

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The BC Securities Commission (BCSC) chalked up the poor recovery rates to the fact that violators often disappear, go broke or end up in jail.

One Victim’s “Conn” Story

The CBC interviewed investor Eleanor Thielke who lost thousands of dollars to fraudster Ronald James Conn in a case that went to the BCSC.

Conn, a registered mutual fund salesman, convinced Thielke in the 1990s to invest in a gold mine in Oregon that turned out to be a fraud. He was fined $50,000, which he never paid. Naturally, he was in court again recently, on 14 counts of criminal fraud and 132 breaches of the B.C. Securities Act, for illegally trading shares in a hair restoration device company.

A statement to the CBC from the Canadian Securities Administrators, an umbrella organization that represents provincial regulators, said:

“Regulators make every reasonable effort to collect monetary penalties, including using the services of collection agencies and registering judgments against assets,” Bill Rice, the association’s chairman, said in the statement.

“Recovery is often limited as a significant number of cases involve serious fraud where there is little or no likelihood of ever collecting the money,” he added.

The CBC’s article and chart showing fraud fine recoveries by province can be found here.



Dawn Lomer
Dawn Lomer

Manager of Communications

Dawn Lomer is the Manager of Communications at i-Sight Software and a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE). She writes about topics related to workplace investigations, ethics and compliance, data security and e-discovery, and hosts i-Sight webinars.

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