British Columbia

Wanna invest in a Venezuelan hedge fund? Serial investment fraudster convicted again

A convicted fraudster has been found guilty of ripping off two B.C. investors for a second time— promising they could regain money he stole from them in 2007, by sinking their money into a new scheme.

Terry James Minnie, aka James Warring Minnie, has been sentenced to 4½ years behind bars

A Parksville man has been handed the longest sentence ever resulting from a BC Securities Commission fraud investigation. (David Horemans/CBC)

It should have been a case of "once burnt, twice shy". 

Instead, a convicted fraudster has been found guilty of ripping off two B.C. investors for a second time— promising they could regain money he stole from them in 2007, by sinking their money into a new scheme.

Unfortunately, that scheme was a scam, too.

And Terry James Minnie, aka James Warring Minnie, put the money directly into his own pocket.

"He used the money for his own personal purposes, including upscale restaurants, hotels, liquor, and his own personal expenses," said Doug Muir, director of enforcement for the B.C. Securities Commission (BCSC).

Minnie, 56, has been convicted of two counts of criminal fraud over $5,000 in B.C Provincial Court in Victoria.

Doug Muir, director of enforcement for the B.C. Securities Commission, says Minnie pocketed investors' money. (BCSC/ Supplied)

"This case was particularly serious because Mr. Minnie had committed investment fraud in the past ... that's why the Crown in this case asked for a lengthy sentence," said Muir.

Minnie, a resident of Parksville, has been sentenced to four and a half years in prison — the longest term ever imposed, as a result of a criminal investigation conducted by the BCSC.

Due to time already served behind bars awaiting trial, that sentence has been reduced to 242 days.

Papua, New Guinea, Venezuela fake schemes

In 2007, Minnie convinced investors to sink $1.8 million into a fake lumber project in Papua New Guinea. He served five years for that crime.

But once released, the BCSC says Minnie went back to two of his former victims and convinced them they could recoup their losses and make a substantial profit by investing in a Venezuelan hedge fund.

Turns out that fund didn't exist either.

And between 2014 and 2016, he took the two B.C. residents for over half a million dollars.

Minnie was arrested at the Beach Acres Resort in Parksville in October 2017 by the Oceanside RCMP.

He was held in custody since his arrest.

Now, in addition to his jail time, Minnie has been ordered by the courts to repay the investors $543,000 in restitution. After his release, he won't be raising that money by promoting more investment schemes.

The BCSC has banned Minnie from trading or purchasing securities or engaging in investor relation activities — permanently.

 

CBC Vancouver's Impact Team investigates and reports on stories that impact people in their local community and strives to hold individuals, institutions and organizations to account. If you have a story for us, email impact@cbc.ca.

 

About the Author

Eric Rankin

Investigative journalist

Eric Rankin is an award-winning CBC reporter. His honours include the 2018 Canadian Screen Award for Best Local Reportage, the 2017 and 2015 RTDNA awards for Best In-depth/Investigative Reporting, and the 2009 Jack Webster award for Best News Reporting.

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