Retired Delta lawyer charged in stem cell company investigation
RCMP say victims in Canada and U.S. lost thousands of dollars in stem cell therapy company
A retired lawyer from Delta, B.C., is facing three criminal charges related to an investigation into a multi-million dollar stock market scheme which dates back to 2013 when Life Stem Genetics, Inc. began trading on the stock market.
Police say Peter John Merry, 73, the central figure at the stem cell therapy company based in Beverly Hills, allegedly made false statements to potential investors in the United States and Canada who lost thousands of dollars.
The B.C. RCMP Integrated Market Enforcement Team launched a probe into the company which claimed to operate stem cell therapy clinics and discovered the company had no clinics, no patients and no revenues.
Investigators said Life Stem Genetics, Inc. allegedly made false claims in news releases to attract investors and the stock price initially jumped, but trading was suspended over the lack of information the company was providing about its business operations.
After about a year, the company's stock was near zero according to police.
RCMP said Merry who was a practising lawyer at the time, was the key to publishing or distributing the claims which describe Life Stem Genetics, Inc. as "a breakthrough company offering innovative stem cell medical treatments to thousands of patients in a chain of clinics."
Supt. Brent Taylor who is in charge of the federal Serious and Organized Crime-Financial Integrity Unit said the police investigation found some victims not only lost money but also hopes of treatment for a family member.
"As an example, one victim reached out to Life Stem Genetics, Inc., seeking to treat a family member's seizures; instead, they were lured to invest in the company."
Taylor said the victim lost $5,000 and precious time waiting for treatment.
Merry is not in police custody and is scheduled to appear in Surrey Provincial Court on March 26.