The disappearance of mutual fund dealer Harold Backer, who former clients allege defrauded them of millions of dollars, has dredged up memories of another Victoria investment adviser who cost his clients millions. Ian Thow took money from clients for schemes that included a Jamaican bank and short-term loans for developers. He never made those investments.
Five-year investigation by RCMP Integrated Market Enforcement Team
The RCMP Integrated Market Enforcement Team led a five-year investigation into Thow, a former Berkshire Investment Group vice-president, based on allegations he cheated clients and friends out of more than $32 million. Thow was jailed in 2010 for defrauding 20 clients of $8 million, the total that the Crown felt it was able to prove. At his trial, the Crown characterized Thow’s actions as a classic Ponzi scheme — a form of fraud in which new investors provide returns for existing ones.
Thow’s warrant expiry date — the end of his sentence — is March 3, 2017. After that, he will no longer be under the jurisdiction of the Correctional Service of Canada or the Parole Board of Canada. Backer, meanwhile, is still considered a missing person by Victoria police.
Read more at The Vancouver Sun.