February 19, 2009 / 12:30 AM / 9 years ago

Man charged in Canadian fraud case will leave U.S.

PORTLAND, Oregon (Reuters) - An investment advisor accused of orchestrating a multimillion dollar fraud in Canada will not fight extradition from the United States, a U.S. court was told on Wednesday.

Ian Thow made an initial appearance in a U.S. District Court in Portland, Oregon, where he was arrested on Tuesday on an extradition request from Canada, which he fled in 2005 as allegations of wrong-doing became public.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police say Thow, 47, a U.S. citizen who lived in Victoria, British Columbia, stole C$10 million ($7.9 million), but Canadian media reports have said the total was higher than that.

Thow was ordered to remain in jail as the court worked out whether he will be extradited from Oregon or Washington state. He had lived mostly in the Seattle area after leaving Canada, according to investigators.

"This is a man who is going to take care of his responsibilities," Thow's attorney Patrick Ehlers told the court in an unsuccessful bid to have him released on bail.

Thow's two children were in court for the hearing.

The British Columbia Securities Commission found Thow, a former mutual fund salesman, guilty in 2007 of what it called one of the "most callous and audacious frauds" ever in the Canadian province.

He was charged criminally by Canadian authorities in June 2008 with 25 counts of fraud over C$5,000.

The regulators said Thow defrauded hundreds of clients from 2003 to 2005, convincing some to sell their mutual funds and mortgage their homes to raise money for nonexistent investments including shares of a Jamaican bank.

Thow won his clients' trust by making a show of supporting charities and claiming a close relationship with prominent Canadian investor Michael Lee-Chin and then used the money to support a lavish lifestyle, according to investigators.

Thow's arrest came less than a week after his attorneys won a victory in a Canadian court, which ruled regulators had inaccurately calculated his fine for breaking securities rules at C$6 million. The fine was cut to C$225,000.

Reporting by Teresa Carson and Allan Dowd; Writing by Allan Dowd; Editing by Vicki Allen

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