The Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada (MFDA) held a hearing Wednesday to investigate allegations against former Winnipeg mutual fund salesman Dennis Villarin.

According to the MFDA, at the time of his employment with World Financial Group in 2006-2008, Villarin advised 14 new clients to borrow money and use the proceeds of those loans to buy mutual funds.

Villarin helped his clients acquire more than $1.6-million loans in a high-risk strategy known as leveraging. 

He's now been fined $250,000, but the MFDA said it can't make him pay the fine unless he wants to remain in the industry.

Villarin allegedly told clients they would earn on their investments — but they didn't.

Villarin helped clients get loans by knowingly inflating the market values on some of his clients homes. He claimed others had RRSP's they did not own and in one case he said a female client earned $56,000 per year when she had in fact retired and wasn't even receiving a pension at the time.

Lily McNamera was one of Villarin’s former clients. Because of the business relationship they had with Villarin, she and her husband now owe $250,000 to the credit bureau.

“We are suffering,” said McNamera.

McNamera hoped to earn a little extra money to send to her family in the Philippines when she met Villarin. She had no idea how much she owed until she applied for a car loan and was turned down.

Villarin did not show up to his hearing and he hasn’t responded to the CBC’s requests for comment.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story said Mr. Villarin's first name was Paul. In fact, it is Dennis.
    Apr 26, 2014 9:32 AM CT