Victoria investment adviser David Michael Michaels fined $23M
Investment adviser's clients included many seniors who are unlikely to recover any of their money
Victoria disgraced investment adviser David Michael Michaels has been ordered to pay more than $23 million in fines after the B.C. Securities Commission found he defrauded almost 500 clients, many of them seniors.
Michaels also faces a permanent ban from ever working again in the capital markets.
Despite the massive fine, it's unlikely Michaels' victims will ever recoup their lost money.
The clients Michaels defrauded invested $65 million with him in bogus securities he advised them to buy.
Helen Dubas, one of Michaels' 484 clients said she and her husband invested $100,000 with the adviser. They lost everything.
No criminal charges have ever been laid against Michaels, a former mutual fund salesperson, over the alleged fraud.
Still, Dubas said she's at least happy for one thing.
"He's not going to be able to do this to anyone else," she said.
The BCSC decision noted that "Michaels' business model was highly predatory in nature" and that he instilled trust in his clients then betrayed that trust.
Of the $65 million his clients invested, at least $40 million is lost. Michaels was paid $5.8 million in fees and commissions.
The BCSC also ordered Michaels be permanently prohibited from trading and banned him from acting as an agent or director in work involving the capital markets.
Paul Bourque, the commission's executive director, said the fine levied against Michaels is the second largest in its history.
The largest fine was for $46 million, handed down four years ago against another fraudulent investment adviser Sung Wan (Sean) Kim.
With files from Keith Vass