Calgary

Alleged Alta. securities breaches under review

A hearing into a Calgary real estate investment firm's alleged breaches of Alberta securities law got underway Monday.
Concrete Equities investors protest outside the company's offices in June 2009. (Terry Town)

A hearing into a Calgary real estate investment firm's alleged breaches of Alberta securities law got underway Monday.

Four former directors of Concrete Equities, which went into receivership in 2009, are accused of acting as dealers without being registered, not filing prospectus and making misrepresentations to investors.

Alberta Securities Commission counsel Andrew Wilson said in his opening statement that the issue wasn't why the firm failed or assigning blame, but rather whether the rules designed to protect investors were followed.

More than 3,700 investors, most of whom are from Calgary, lost more than $100 million through investments with Concrete Equities.

The allegations about Concrete Equities and associated businesses relate to securities involving office buildings in Calgary and land deals in Mexico.

The hearing's first witness, an independent auditor, testified the four men transferred money between 69 bank accounts.

He also testified they were paying themselves up to $30,000 a month and millions of dollars in bonuses.

Half a dozen investors also attended the hearing.

One of those left out of pocket was Mike Hansen, who not only invested with Concrete Equities but encouraged others to do the same, something he said "hurts."

"It's cost me quite a few thousand dollars. It's cost many others even more," said Hansen. "Some of them had to kind of come out of retirement, go back to work, kind of change their plans moving forward. I myself have lost tens of thousands of dollars investing with these guys and so did lots of others."   

The four former executives are Calgary residents Vincenzo De Palma, Varun Vinny Aurora, David Jones and David Humeniuk.

Only Aurura was present at the hearing. De Palma was represented by a lawyer.

The hearing is set to last 17 days.

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