The Ontario Securities Commission is seeking to ban a former Hamilton Tiger Cat linebacker from working in the securities industry after he was twice convicted of defrauding his clients.
Mark Allen Dennis, who played for the Tiger Cats in the early 1990s and later became a financial adviser, was sentenced to 37 months in prison earlier this year for a $5-million fraud involving former clients. At the time of his sentencing, he was serving a two-year sentence for stealing $300,000 from a widowed client.
Justice Alan Whitten, who oversaw Mr. Dennis's first trial in 2014, called the investment adviser "a fiscal predator" and said he "perceives himself as the victim." Mr. Dennis pleaded guilty in his second case this year, and his lawyer told the court he was "extremely remorseful."
The OSC said Tuesday it has launched its own case against Mr. Dennis on the basis of his conviction earlier this year, seeking to permanently ban him from being able to trade securities in Ontario, work as a registrant in the financial industry, or serve as a director or officer of a registered company or financial firm.
In a statement of allegations released Tuesday, the regulator said Mr. Dennis has admitted "to a pattern of conduct" in which he took money from clients but failed to invest it as promised, instead using the money for his own personal use or to make payments to other clients.
The OSC said it is in the public interest to make an order banning Mr. Dennis from future participation in the investment industry.
Mr. Dennis was born in Windsor, Ont., and joined the Tiger Cats as a linebacker in 1990. His brother Tony Dennis also played seven years in the Canadian Football League.
Mark Dennis left the game in 1993 after suffering a knee injury, parlaying his profile as a football player into a new career as a financial adviser based in Hamilton.
He worked as an investment adviser at TD Waterhouse from 2000 to 2008, briefly worked at Richardson Partners, then left in 2009 to devote his time to his own group of investment companies, which he called the Dennam Companies. The OSC said Mr. Dennis's conduct took place between 2003 and 2010, covering the period he worked at all three companies.
Court heard Mr. Dennis typically told his clients he was investing their funds in commercial real estate projects, but instead used their money to pay off his debts, fund home renovations, buy vacation properties, purchase a Mercedes and make payments to other clients.
One of his victims was his own sister, who lost over $400,000. Another client lost most of a $1.7-million inheritance.
Mr. Dennis and his companies filed for bankruptcy, leaving little money available for his victims. His lawyer told the court earlier this year that all of his family's property has been sold and all his investment accounts were frozen.
"He and his entire family have lost everything," lawyer Elham Jamshidi said.
Mr. Dennis was banned in 2011 from becoming a registrant with the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada, which oversees brokerage firms, and was fined $1-million, which was later increased to $1.4-million by the OSC. He has paid none of the fine, according to IIROC's most recent unpaid fines report.