Montreal

Harper meets white-collar crime victims

Prime Minister Stephen Harper met Thursday with some alleged victims of disgraced financial adviser Earl Jones, pledging his support for tougher laws against white-collar crime.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper met Thursday with some alleged victims of disgraced financial adviser Earl Jones, pledging his support for tougher laws against white-collar crime.

During his visit to Quebec City, Harper met with several people once connected to Jones, talking about financial crime and related Canadian laws.

Going into the visit, Harper said he's committed to tougher penalties and sentences but can't bring about big changes because of his government's minority status.

"We had legislation before Parliament in the past to remove house arrest for serious white-collar crime, and the opposition defeated the legislation," he told reporters in the provincial capital.

The victims group asked Harper to "stiffen the laws against white-collar crime, as well as stiffen the penalties and sentences," said Joey Davis, a spokesman for the group.

Davis said Harper promised to set up a meeting with federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson to discuss the issue.

Quebec's securities regulator alleges that Jones, a Montreal investment adviser, swindled at least 50 investors out of at least $30 million in a possible Ponzi scheme. Jones was granted bail in July after being charged with four counts each of fraud and theft in connection with four former clients.

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