Salt Spring Island property claimed in civil forfeiture lawsuit connected to international stock fraud

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Victoria (December 18, 2019) – The B.C.’s Civil Forfeiture Office is suing to seize a Salt Spring Island property, which is allegedly linked to a $200-million-plus international stock-fraud. The $2.4 million island property is believed to be purchased with the proceeds of a pump-and-dump scheme. The lawsuit was filed on December 11 in B.C. Supreme Court. Beresford Estates Inc., Geordie Lee also known as Skye Lee, Alice Lee, and Vincent Manalastas are accused of offenses against the U.S. Securities Act, the U.S. Exchange Act and the B.C. Securities Act. The allegations have not yet been proven in court.

The B.C. Civil Forfeiture Office filed another action in connection with a U.S. stock fraud. Last summer two properties in the Kelowna area were pursued by the office. On December 11, they filed a lawsuit with the B.C. Supreme Court seeking to seize a Salt Spring Island property with an assessed value of $2.4 million. The lawsuit alleges that the property is linked to a $200-million-plus international stock fraud and that it was purchased by using proceeds of crime and was used to launder money.

The civil forfeiture lawsuit

The lawsuit names Beresford Estates Inc., Geordie Lee also known as Skye Lee, Alicia Lee, and Vincent Manalastas as defendants. The Salt Spring property is located at 391 Baker Road. Skye and Alicia Lee reside in this residence. Mr. Manalastas who is the sole director of Beresford Estates is believed to reside in the Philippines. Moreover, Beresford Estates is the legal owner of the property which is also its official office address.

The lawsuit alleges that ‘Beresford was used in British Columbia to: (a) receive and distribute proceeds of the unlawful scheme to or on behalf of one or more of Mr. Lee, Mrs. Lee, and Mr. Manalastas; and (b) acquire or make improvements to the property.’ Furthermore, the defendants are accused of offenses under the U.S. Securities Act, the U.S. Exchange Act and the B.C. Securities Act, as well as fraud, affecting the public market price of stocks, and failure to declare taxable income.

The international pump-and-dump stock fraud

In 2018, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) started investigating a US$165 million worth pump-and-dump stock fraud. The alleged stock fraud spread over nine countries. According to filings in U.S. court proceedings, the SEC traced that the money was moved through 18 banks – including Canada – and more than a dozen brokers.

Generally, pump-and-dump stock fraudsters promote a penny-stock and sell off their shares when the price rises which often leaves the other shareholders with losses as soon as the stock starts to decrease dramatically.

Read more: Canadian jailed in U.S. over ‘pump and dump’ penny stock fraud

The civil forfeiture action alleges that the Salt Spring Island property was purchased for $1.16 million with proceeds from the pump-and-dump scheme in 2014. It furthermore alleges that the proceeds were also used for the subsequent renovations which amount to $526,000.

The defendants have not yet responded to the civil lawsuit and the allegations have not yet been proven in court.