Manitobans among Ponzi scheme victims
Two Calgary men accused of bilking people worldwide
Manitobans can also be counted among the victims of an alleged $100 million Ponzi scheme that RCMP commercial crime investigators said defrauded people from around the world.
Two Alberta men have been charged with fraud in connection to the alleged scam where money from new investors goes to pay off original investors without any real profit being earned.
Milowe Allen Brost, 55, of Calgary, is also charged with theft over $5,000. Police continue to search for Gary Allen Sorensen, 68, also from Calgary but believed to be in Honduras.
Lured by the promise of returns, investors were enticed into offshore shell companies marketed by Brost.
Police said the following were shell companies:
- Asset Trax Inc.
- Quattro Communications Corp.
- Rapid Express Corporation
- Strategic Metals Corp.
- Merendon Mining (Nevada) Inc.
RCMP said at least 3,000 people were bilked in the scheme between 1999 and 2008.
Murray McMillan and his family operate a farm near Brandon, Man. He said Tuesday that when friends told him about an investment with big returns, he listened.
"When you go into a room and you have 15 or 20 people sitting there, and a lot of them you know, and they're all smiles, and have been receiving their cheque, it looks like you would be a fool not to invest," McMillan said.
McMillan said he and his wife nearly lost $50,000, but managed to get their money back after their son — an accountant who started a website to warn people about the scheme — threatened legal action.
McMillan said he's glad charges have been laid and hopes no one else falls into the same predicament.
The Manitoba's Securities Commission wouldn't confirm Tuesday that it would investigate the scheme further.
However a spokesperson did say the commission is aware of what's happening in Alberta and will co-operate with the investigation there.