A trio of Calgary men and their companies orchestrated a $46-million "fraudulent investment scheme," a panel of the Alberta Securities Commission has ruled.
The Alberta regulator said that Gary Sorenson, Dennis Morice and Milowe Brost, and companies Arbour Energy Inc., the Institute for Financial Learning Group of Companies Inc. and Merendon Mining Corp. had "perpetrated a deliberately complex, co-ordinated, far-reaching and massive – almost $46 million – fraudulent investment scheme."
Mr. Borst and Mr. Sorenson have also faced investigations and charges by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the RCMP in connection with other alleged frauds. They are currently awaiting a criminal trial in Alberta.
The SEC won an order in 2010 ordering the two men to pay more than $310-million (U.S.).
The ASC ruling is the latest chapter in a story that dates back almost a decade and involves the men facing allegations over what was once alleged to have been one of Canada's largest-ever Ponzi schemes, apparently aimed partly at Canadian Football League players.
The ASC, which announced the 235-page decision dated March 30 on Monday, will not decide on sanctions or orders against the three men and the companies until after further hearings in May and July.
In its ruling, which the panel said did not concern the Ponzi allegations, the panel ruled that Arbour Energy, Mr. Brost and IFFL illegally traded in and distributed securities without registering or offering a prospectus.
It ruled that Mr. Brost and IFFL acted as an advisers illegally, and that Arbour Energy and Mr. Morice made statements that were "untrue or misleading" in offering memoranda.
It also ruled that Mr. Brost and IFFL failed to heed a September, 2004, ASC order in which they pledged to stop trading and advising clients. Neither Mr. Brost nor a representative of IFFL participated in the hearings before the ASC, the regulator said.
In 2009, Mr. Sorenson left a mansion in Honduras where he was living and voluntarily flew to Calgary to face the criminal charges against him, just days after Mr. Brost was arrested. They are still awaiting a trial set for later this year.
Glenn Solomon, a lawyer for Mr. Sorenson and Merendon Mining Corp. Ltd., said in an e-mail that his cliet was disappointed with the decision and was "considering his options." Lawyers for the other men could not be reached.