July 27, 2009 / 8:08 PM / 8 years ago

Canada financier accused of Ponzi scheme surrenders

TORONTO (Reuters) - A Canadian financier who investors say swindled them out of as much as C$50 million ($46.3 million) in a so-called Ponzi scheme has turned himself in to police and will appear in a Montreal court Tuesday.

Bertram Earl Jones, who found his mostly elderly and retired clients through word of mouth, is accused of running a scheme similar to the one that landed U.S. fraudster Bernard Madoff in jail for life. He turned himself into Quebec provincial police Monday.

“He presented himself to police this afternoon, accompanied by his lawyer,” police in the French-speaking Canadian province said in a statement Monday.

Police said they could not comment further because the investigation into Earl Jones was ongoing.

In a statement posted to their website (www.sq.gouv.qc.ca), police encouraged alleged victims of Earl Jones to contact them.

Most of the investors who say they were conned by Earl Jones were from the French-speaking province of Quebec, but there were others from elsewhere in Canada and the United States, Quebec’s securities regulator - Autorite Des Marches Financiers - said last month.

The alleged scam was discovered after investors went to authorities to complain checks issued by Earl Jones were bouncing, and the financier was not answering his phone.

Regulators froze Earl Jones’ accounts, but said there was little cash left in any of them.

Investors who contacted Quebec regulators described a scheme in which Earl Jones allegedly would use funds from one investor to pay guaranteed minimum returns to another.

Arch swindler Bernard Madoff was sentenced in June to 150 years in prison -- the maximum penalty the judge could give him -- for “extraordinarily evil” crimes in Wall Street’s biggest and most brazen investment fraud.

Madoff is believed to have bilked investors worldwide out of as much as $65 billion.

($1=$1.08 Canadian)

Reporting by Pav Jordan; Editing by Frank McGurty

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