B.C. investment advisor who defrauded retired couple of $285K banned, fined $310K

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Canada’s regulator of mutual funds has found a Fraser Valley investment advisor defrauded a retired Langley couple of $258,000; however, RCMP have yet to say whether they are investigating the matter.

On April 4, an independent hearing panel for the Canadian Investment Regulatory Organization released its decision to fine Alvinder Singh Gill $310,000 and permanently ban him from the industry, after Gill was previously found to have committed fraud.

Based on the testimony of Donald Lapierre and Suzanne Lapierre, the panel described what happened to the retirees as “devastating.”

Gill, who resides in Surrey, was licensed to sell insurance and investment products at the time he solicited and accepted nearly $330,000 from the Lapierres over the course of a decade, starting in 2010.

At the time, Gill worked in Abbotsford as a licensed insurance broker on behalf of the Canada Life Assurance Company; he had, however, relinquished his seven-year stint as a mutual fund representative in 2008. Although unlicensed to handle investments, Gill was the sole principal of Greynote Group Financial Services, where he would direct the Lapierres to put their money.

By March 2016 Gill re-registered as a mutual fund representative with Sun Life Financial Investment Services (Canada) Inc. and until September 2019, the Lapierres would issue 18 cheques to Greynote or Gill, personally, totalling $329,625.

Matters began to unravel just prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, when the Lapierres asked for their money to be withdrawn.

On Aug. 26, 2020, the Lapierres filed complaints with the Langley RCMP and Canada Life, after Gill could not come up with the couple’s money.

According to the ruling, Gill’s fraud had imposed a net financial loss of $258,486 on the couple.

The panel found Gill engaged in “two distinct categories of serious misconduct:” First, that he defrauded the Lapierres and, second, that he failed to cooperate with the investigation.

Gill “misappropriated or failed to account for monies,” made “false statements and provided fictitious documents,” engaged in “undisclosed outside activity” (via Sun Life) and “failed to cooperate” with the regulator’s investigation.

It was determined Gill “was able to continue perpetrating the fraud only because he concealed his outside activities from Sun Life’s supervision.”

And, “to perpetrate the fraud, [Gill] engaged in a pattern of continuous deception for roughly a decade that included the extensive use of forged account statements. The defining characteristic of the Respondent’s misconduct was its deliberateness.”

In summary, Gill’s misconduct was “profoundly serious,” the panel noted, adding: “It is difficult to imagine misconduct more detrimental to the public interest than an Approved Person perpetrating a financial fraud against a retired couple.”

The Lapierres also took Gill to court as the regulator proceeded with administrative action against him.

In a civil court claim filed by the Lapierres in the Supreme Court of B.C. on Sep. 25, 2021, the Lapierres alleged Gill used their money to buy real estate.

The claim states Gill acquired legal title of a residence on May 27, 2014, amid his solicitations of the Lapierres. At the time, the couple had given him $185,000.

“Gill used the funds from the Plaintiffs (the Lapierres) to pay the down-payment on the Gill Residence,” and “additionally, Gill continued to use money provided by the Plaintiffs to pay off the mortgages on the Gill Residence.”

Furthermore, the claim states, “Gill also used the funds advanced from the Plaintiffs to purchase other personal property.”

Donald was age 77 and Suzanne was age 73 at the time of the claim.

The lawsuit reached a consent agreement on June 9, 2021, signed by Gill and the couple’s lawyer Patrick Sullivan for a monetary order of $450,000.

According to the ruling, by the time of the disciplinary hearing that concluded in November 2023, Gill had not paid any of the amounts owing from the agreement.

The ruling describes how Gill made five efforts to adjourn his hearing on grounds he was suffering from physical and mental health problems and lacked the financial resources to hire legal counsel.

One email from Gill’s account to enforcement counsel stated: “Alvinder was taken in yesterday by the police to Surrey Memorial Hospital and is detained under the mental health act.”

Ultimately, the regulator’s staff “opposed the adjournment by reiterating that [Gill’s] history of evasion and delay during the investigation warranted skepticism about his claim of psychological disability at what was now the last stage of the disciplinary process.”

The Insurance Council of BC notes Gill is now unlicensed. The council conducted a hearing on Nov. 16, 2023 and issued Gill a $10,000 fine, it’s maximum amount under the Financial Institutions Act.

Last October, Glacier Media asked Abbotsford Police Department and Langley RCMP if it was investigating Gill. It did not receive a response.

On April 19, Glacier Media asked RCMP E Division if it was investigating Gill but received no response.

Gill has no recorded charges in the court registry.

As of 2019, fraud represented 12 per cent of the Crime Severity Index, which is used to measure crime across Canadian communities. Ten years earlier, in 2009, fraud represented just 6.5 per cent of the index, according to Statistics Canada.

And while fraud is up significantly in Canada, total court decisions for fraud cases have trended downward since 2009. Since then there have been 12,500 court decisions, on average, with under 12,000 such decisions in 2018 and 2019.

This article was originally sourced from www.CoastReporter.net