Former fund salesman fined C$6 million and banned

Fri Dec 21, 2007 3:27pm EST
 
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TORONTO (Reuters) - A former mutual fund salesman in British Columbia who was found guilty by regulators of committing fraud has been fined C$6 million ($6.1 million) and banned from working in the West Coast province's capital markets for life.

Ian Thow, who was branch manager of the Victoria, B.C., office of mutual fund dealer Berkshire Investment Group, cannot trade securities or act as a manager or consultant in the securities market, the British Columbia Securities Commission said on Friday.

The commission said in October that Thow's case "represents one of the most callous and audacious frauds this province has seen," and it used new legislative amendments to increase the penalties against Thow, who bilked clients out of millions of dollars and spent it on luxury goods and personal expenses.

Thow is also prohibited from being a director or officer of any issuer, registrant or investment fund manager, and from acting as a promoter

or investor relations adviser.

"Thow's conduct shows he is not fit to participate in our capital markets," the B.C. Securities Commission said.

It's unclear whether the C$6 million fine will ever be collected, however.

Thow is reported to be living in Seattle, Washington, and was petitioned into bankruptcy in 2005.

"We're going to aggressively pursue collection, but it (the fine) is subordinated to any investor claims," Lang Evans, the BCSC's director of enforcement, told Reuters. "We don't want any of this money paid to us ahead of any amounts that are due to his victims."   Continued...