Investors fear losses as search on for financial planner

MONTREAL — Bounced retirement home cheques. Tens of thousands in unpaid income taxes. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in possibly lost life savings.

Margaret Davis holds up an agreement between her and Earl Jones at an information meeting along with other investors in Montreal

MONTREAL — Bounced retirement home cheques. Tens of thousands in unpaid income taxes. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in possibly lost life savings.

These are the stories and allegations that poured out of the mostly elderly men and women who packed a west Montreal hotel conference room Sunday to swap tales of feared loss and betrayal — and to get answers to their many questions.

Joined by their frantic families, they’re among some 50 people — most in Montreal but also elsewhere in Canada, the United States and Europe — who may have lost millions in what Quebec’s securities regulator alleges has all the appearances of a Ponzi scheme.

“I can’t see, I can’t hear much and I’m 94 so it’s not the easiest thing in the world,” said Nancy Jean Rollinson, who trusted her savings to the man authorities allege is behind it, Montreal financial planner Bertram Earl Jones.

“He’s the executor of my will…. I’m in a bad way,” she said before the meeting.

Andre Thiem said the whole thing comes as a shock as Jones had been “like an uncle” to him since 1965.

His 74-year-old mother Ruth had “scrimped and saved every penny” during her 35 years with Avon and had some $200,000 invested with Jones, he said.

“Now it’s all gone so I’m just worried about her health,” he said, noting she hasn’t eaten or slept in days.

Local and provincial police attended the meeting to gather statements but Montreal police spokesman Andre Leclerc said the police investigation in the matter is in its infancy.

The whereabouts of Jones remains unknown. He has not been charged with any crime and the allegations against him have not been proven. However, the province’s securities regulator froze his accounts and those of his company last week.

The Authorite des marches financiers peg the amount of money missing at between $30-$50 million and say Jones did not have proper credentials.

Efforts are underway to figure out what happened to the money and to redistribute anything that might be left to the victims, said bankruptcy lawyer Neil Stein who attended the meeting.

Stein represents one of the victims who has filed bankrupts proceedings against Jones’ company Earl Jones Consultant and Administration Corp.

He’s working on behalf of a woman who’d invested with Jones and had been receiving monthly cheques that he said began to bounce in recent months, but he said any money recovered would be “distributed on a pro rata basis to all the creditors.”

“We obtained a judgment allowing (accounting firm) RSM Richter to act as court appointed interim receiver. To take possession immediately of the books and records and assets and computers of the corporation and its bank accounts,” he said.

“They went in Friday night after we obtained the order and have taken possession and have started their preliminary analysis at this time.”

Stein said about 100 estates and some 30 individuals appear to be implicated in the scandal but that the scale of the loss remains unclear.

He suggested Jones built his client base through word of mouth. He said a Ponzi scheme “is really someone who has taken from Peter to pay Paul.”

In a Ponzi scheme, early investors often are paid quick returns using the money of later investors.

Just Posted

Experts offer tips about how to prevent online ad spoilers during the holidays

Looking to prevent your Christmas surprises from being spoiled by online ads… Continue reading

Fast-expanding seafood giant joins Irvings, McCains as N.B. business royalty

FREDERICTON — For the Irvings, it was Bouctouche. For the McCains, Florenceville.… Continue reading

Washington state combats collisions with new wildlife bridge

SNOQUALMIE PASS, Wash. — Before descending the Cascade Mountains on its final… Continue reading

China says it has no information on detained ex-Canadian diplomat

BEIJING — China’s Foreign Ministry said Wednesday that it had no information… Continue reading

Price Is Right contestant wins winter trip to Winnipeg, Churchill

WINNIPEG — Who wants to visit Winnipeg in the dead of winter?… Continue reading

CBC Gem streaming service to launch exclusive content, partners with Wattpad

TORONTO — The CBC has launched a new streaming service featuring live… Continue reading

‘Part of the solution:’ Alberta seeks proposals to build new refinery

EDMONTON — Alberta is looking for someone to build a new oil… Continue reading

Online ads spoil Christmas surprises, raising privacy concerns: experts

Lisa Clyburn knew she had found the perfect gift for her nine-year-old… Continue reading

Sebastian Giovinco, Jonathan Osorio and Adriana Leon up for top CONCACAF awards

Toronto FC’s Sebastian Giovinco and Jonathan Osorio are up for CONCACAF male… Continue reading

Huitema, Cornelius named 2018 Canadian Youth International Players of the Year

TORONTO — Canada Soccer has named striker Jordyn Huitema and defender Derek… Continue reading

Review: Too much Spider-Man? Not in the Spider-Verse

You might be forgiven for feeling superhero overload this holiday season. Had… Continue reading

‘Modern Family’s’ Sarah Hyland had second kidney transplant

LOS ANGELES — “Modern Family” star Sarah Hyland says she had a… Continue reading

Most Read