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Regulators in British Columbia have ordered four people to pay fines totalling $26-million and to also repay $16-million in ill-gotten gains reaped from an aggressive Ponzi scheme that collapsed in 2007.

The British Columbia Securities Commission said Hal (Mick) McLeod, David Vaughan, Kenneth McMordie (also known as Byrun Fox) and Dianne Rosiek fraudulently distributed securities through Manna Trading Corp. Ltd. and related companies.

The BCSC said 800 investors lost up to $13-million (U.S.) in the scheme.

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"Nothing strikes more viciously at the integrity of our capital markets than fraud, and this case represents a particularly aggressive and flagrant assault on the public's confidence in our markets," a BCSC hearing panel said in a ruling released Monday.

In its decision, the panel fined Mr. McLeod $8-million (Canadian) and ordered the other three people to pay fines of $6-million each. In addition, the panel ordered the accused and their related companies to repay $16-million obtained from investors.

However, it's unclear whether the money will be paid. The panel decision said investors got back between $3-million (U.S.) and $5.6-million of the funds they invested, but the rest has been lost and there is "no apparent hope" it will be recovered.

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