The victim of a Ponzi scheme says a West Vancouver woman who allegedly cheated investors out of tens of millions of dollars has not received a “fair punishment.”
Businessman Peter Doetsch alleges he was one of many who invested with Victoria Tan and lost all of their money.
“So the B.C. Securities investigated her, and issued a settlement agreement. In this agreement B.C. Securities Commissions states that Virginia Tan committed fraud, and she accepted that she did so,” said Doetsch.
He was hoping that the $3-million fine given to her would allow him to open an investigation into fraud and press criminal charges against her. But Doetsch said he was surprised when he was told by the commission that its investigations couldn’t be used towards criminal investigations.
“I learned that the B.C. Securities Commission follows an internal administrative process, and not a criminal process, so as such, no information from the agreement can be used in any other proceedings.”
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He said police informed him there was nothing they could do without more information on the case.
According to Doetsch, the securities commission won’t collect the $3-million Tan was fined until all investors have been paid back the $30-$40 million they originally invested.
“With this ruling, the fraudster completely gets off the hook – completely. The fine needs to be paid only after all the investors get their money back,” said Doetsch.
In an email, the BCSC said it “vigorously pursues all cost-effective avenues to identify assets, seize collectability, and then seize or sell assets and garnish income.”
But the BCSC said collecting sanctions is difficult, as respondents often have limited or no assets.
“In many cases, investors’ money has already been spent by the time the BCSC issues monetary orders,” read the email, adding that recovering sanctions from fraudsters – given the “methods they use to perpetrate misconduct” – is challenging.