BCSC longest-ever sentence for Venezuelan hedge fund investment fraud

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Victoria (May 15, 2020) – A B.C. Provincial Court convicted James Warring Minnie, a.k.a. Terry James Minnie, for a Venezuelan hedge fund investment fraud and imposed the longest sentence ever resulting from a British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) criminal investigation. On May 8, Minnie was sentenced to four and a half years in prison for two counts of criminal fraud over $5,000. Two B.C. investors were defrauded out of more than $500,000 between 2014 and 2016, already for the second time. Minnie was a repeat offender, having already been convicted of investment fraud in 2007.

The Parksville man, James Warring Minnie, a.k.a. Terry James Minnie, was sentenced for defrauding two B.C. investors out of more than $500,000 for the second time. He sold his victims fake securities in the form of a Venezuelan hedge fund investment. The court imposed the longest sentence ever resulting from a British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) criminal investigation, according to their press release from May 13.

Doug Muir, Director of Enforcement with the British Columbia Securities Commission (photo: BCSC).

Venezuelan hedge fund investment fraud

The 56-year-old Minnie has committed investment fraud in the past. In 2007, he has been convicted of fraud and theft for his role in a scheme that involved the same two B.C. investors.

Between 2014 and 2016, he told the two victims that they could regain their money and make a substantial profit. He solicited the funds representing that their money would help pay the administrative expenses of a Venezuelan hedge fund that was winding down.

However, the hedge fund did not exist. Minnie spent almost all the money on his own personal expenses instead. The BCSC listed upscale hotels, restaurant meals, and liquor along with many other retail purchases and substantial cash withdrawals.

‘This case was particularly serious because Mr. Minnie had committed investment fraud in the past […] that’s why the Crown, in this case, asked for a lengthy sentence,’ stated Doug Muir, Director of Enforcement with the BCSC.

The longest-ever sentence resulting from BCSC criminal investigation

In October 2017, the Oceanside RCMP arrested and charged Minnie for two counts of criminal fraud over $5,000 at the Beach Acres Resort in Parksville following an investigation by the BCSC’s Criminal Investigations Branch. He was held in custody since his arrest.

On May 8 of this year, the B.C. Provincial Court in Victoria sentenced the serial fraudster to four and a half years in prison. This is the longest sentence ever imposed as a result of a criminal investigation by the BCSC, according to the commission. Due to time already served behind bars awaiting trial, he has eight months left on his sentence. Additionally, the court ordered Minnie to repay the victims a total of $543,220 in restitution and he is prohibited from contacting either of the victims again.

‘As this sentence shows, we will use all of the legal tools at our disposal to stop fraudsters,’ said BCSC Executive Director Peter Brady. ‘Our Criminal Investigations Branch has helped secure 37 convictions and put 18 people behind bars over the past decade. Anyone who is contemplating securities fraud should know that they could face serious jail time for their actions.’

The lumber project investment fraud

In 2007, the Saanich police charged Minnie with six counts of fraud and one count of theft. He told his victims that he would invest their money in a purported lumber project in Papua New Guinea. His investors lost at least $1.8 million. For the 2007 offense, Minnie was sentenced to five years in jail, and issued a permanent ban from trading or purchasing securities or engaging in investor relation activities.

Read more: Man wanted for half-million-dollar investment fraud

The Reasons for Sentence for Winnie’s 2007 fraud conviction can be reviewed at R. v. Minnie and Shaw, 2007 BCSC 433. The Reasons for Sentence for Winnie’s 2002 fraud conviction have not yet been published.