British Columbia

Former Olympic rower Harold Backer gets 13 months for fraud

The investment adviser changed his plea to guilty in Victoria provincial court on a single charge of fraud over $5,000.

Investment adviser disappeared for more than a year before turning himself in to police in April 2017

Harold Backer disappeared for almost 18 months after telling his family he was going out for a bike ride in November 2015. (Victoria Police Department )

A former Olympic rower who mysteriously disappeared for nearly 18 months has been sentenced to 13 months in jail after pleading guilty to fraud.

On Wednesday, Harold Backer changed his plea in Victoria provincial court on a single charge of fraud over $5,000.

The three-time Olympian was previously facing two charges of fraud over $5,000 and had pleaded not guilty on both counts.

Judge Carmen Rogers also gave the 55-year-old former investment dealer three years probation.

Backer disappeared on Nov. 3, 2015, when he failed to return home after telling his family he was going out for a bike ride.

The investment dealer surrendered to police in April 2017 and his whereabouts during that period of time hasn't been explained.

Soon after he disappeared, financial crime investigators began looking into Backer and the company My Financial Backer Corp. after his investors received letters that concerned them.

The 55-year-old was on the Canadian rowing team in the 1984, 1988 and 1992 Olympic Games.

After his disappearance, police in Port Angeles, Wash., said an officer who viewed video from a street security camera noted a man fitting Backer's description was aboard a ferry from Victoria, a 90-minute trip away.

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