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Alberta Securities Commission orders Ponzi scheme operators to pay over $4 million

Calgary Courts Centre
FILE: The exterior of the Calgary Courts Centre in downtown Calgary. Global News file image

The Alberta Securities Commission says the owner and an employee of a mortgage company that attracted $137 million from investors while operating as a Ponzi scheme must pay more than $4 million in penalties, disgorgements of ill-gotten gains and costs.

The regulator says Arnold Breitkreutz of Calgary-based Base Finance Ltd. must pay an administrative penalty of $1 million, disgorge $2.67 million and cover $100,000 in investigation and hearing costs.

READ MORE: Alberta RCMP charge two people in complex multimillion-dollar fraud case

Office administrator Susan Elizabeth Way is ordered to pay an administrative penalty of $150,000, disgorge $362,000 and cover costs of $50,000.

The ASC says Base Finance raised money from hundreds of investors between 2004 and 2015 to be invested in mortgages but the money was instead used to make interest and principal payments to other investors as in a Ponzi scheme.

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It says investors were collectively owed more than $122 million at the time of Base Finance’s receivership.

It says it’s unclear where all the money went, although it says Breitkreutz claimed more than $50 million was advanced to a third party _ who did not testify at an ASC hearing _ to make oil and gas investments in the U.S.

Breitkreutz and Base Finance are now permanently banned from trading in or purchasing securities, while Way is banned for 20 years or until the monetary orders against her are paid, the ASC said.