Alberta securities regulators have accused independent television producer Neil Chandran of improperly raising $56-million to fund entertainment projects, including a Las Vegas boxing match that never occurred.
The Alberta Securities Commission said Energy TV Inc., a company controlled by Mr. Chandran, perpetrated a fraud on investors when it raised $750,000 to stage and promote what he alleged would be a World Boxing Federation title match in Las Vegas. Investors were promised returns of 50 to 75 per cent within five days of the staging of the event.
"The event never took place," the ASC alleged in a statement Monday. "Instead of using the investors' funds to pay for expenses related to staging and promoting the event, Energy TV perpetrated a fraud on investors when it converted about $500,000 of investors' funds to its own use, and used the funds to pay Energy TV's operational debts and expenses."
None of the investors received any repayments of their principal or promised interest, the ASC said.
According to its website, Energy TV produced a weekly television segment that aired on Global television stations about issues affecting Canada's energy industry, including the oil and gas sector. Energy TV was founded in 2006 and is controlled by Chandran Holdings & Media Inc.
The ASC has accused Mr. Chandran, Chandran Holdings, and Energy TV of engaging in illegal trades and distributions of securities without being registered to do so and without filing a prospectus. The commission said Mr. Chandran is the founder, president, sole director and shareholder of Energy TV, and the president of Chandran Holdings.
Mr. Chandran could not be reached Monday for comment. The ASC said Mr. Chandran was a resident of Calgary, while his website biography says he lives in Las Vegas with his wife and two children. The phone number listed for Chandran Holdings in Las Vegas has a recorded message telling callers they have reached a different company.
The Alberta regulator said investors were offered a variety of securities by Energy TV, including "production partner agreements" allegedly offering them an ownership stake in a "unique online broadcast network and two associated theme parks." They were promised returns of 800 to 1,000 per cent within a year on the investments.
The ASC said Energy TV filed three reports to offer securities to exempt investors totalling $5.35-million, but did not file exempt distribution reports for the balance of $56-million it raised. Mr. Chandran and Chandran Holdings did not file any exempt distribution reports.
Mr. Chandran's online biography describes him as a visionary "futurist" whose company is poised at "the very hub of revolutionizing online video marketing and media platforms."
He is also described as a philanthropist whose company donates a portion of its revenue "towards education, health and wellness, spirituality, hunger and homelessness" in the communities in which it operates.