A three-member panel of the Nova Scotia Securities Commission has concluded that a Nova Scotia man defrauded five people of amounts ranging from $25,000 to $550,000.
Wesley William Robinson came to the attention of the commission after one of the people brought a complaint to the police, who forwarded it on.
The people who complained are only identified by their initials in public documents. They were all interviewed by an investigator acting for the commission.
The investigator also interviewed Robinson in May 2020.
According to evidence gathered by the investigator, a woman identified as KH transferred $25,000 to Robinson in exchange for a promise that he would double her money.
Complainants never got money back
The other complainants sent Robinson amounts of $150,000, $60,000, $100,000 and $550,000. The money was reportedly to secure loans of millions of dollars, but the loans did not materialize.
None of the complainants have been able to get their money back.
Robinson declined to participate in the hearing. In an interview with the investigator, he suggested the complaints didn’t involve Nova Scotian investors and therefore were out of the commission’s jurisdiction.
The panel did not accept that reasoning for multiple reasons, including that Robinson’s company is registered in Nova Scotia, he lists his address in Nova Scotia and one of the people who lost money lives in Nova Scotia.
Victims suffered ‘severe financial hardship’
Robinson told the investigator the $25,000 from KH was borrowed as a “favour” and he would return $50,000 as a “gift.” The investigator presented evidence that Robinson had used some of the money for personal purchases.
Two of the people who said they lost money to Robinson appeared as witnesses at the hearing. The panel described them both as “forthright and credible witnesses whose oral evidence was supported by the exhibits.”
The panel found Robinson violated the Securities Act and committed a fraud on all five people.
Penalty to be determined this fall
In case of KH, the panel wrote that Robinson “took advantage of an unsophisticated investor with limited investment knowledge, promising unachievable returns through a vaguely described investment scheme.”
The panel also found two of the people who lost money suffered “severe financial hardship” and the others lost “significant amounts.”
The panel will decide on a penalty in the fall. It could bar Robinson from trading in securities in the future, or ask for an administrative penalty up to $1 million for each contravention of the act.
Originally reported by CBC.ca