Two Calgary men, accused in nearly $52-million Ponzi scheme

Two men and their Calgary-based companies have been accused of perpetrating a Ponzi scheme that tricked investors out of nearly $52 million, the Alberta Securities Commission said Monday.

CALGARY — Two men and their Calgary-based companies have been accused of perpetrating a Ponzi scheme that tricked investors out of nearly $52 million, the Alberta Securities Commission said Monday.

The ASC alleges Dale Joseph Edgar St. Jean and Gregory Dennis Tindall broke the law by misleading investors in an offering memorandum, in contracts and in promotional literature.

It said between March 2005 and November 2009, St. Jean’s and Tindall’s companies — TransCap and Strata-Trade — raised $51.6 million by promising low-risk investments with returns of 18 to 22 per cent.

“That’s one of our top red flags for investing that could signal trouble — promises of high returns and little or no risk,” ASC spokesman Mark Dickey said.

In Alberta, at least 133 investors were victims of the alleged scheme. About half of the proceeds came from Alberta investors, with the rest from offshore locales such as Australia, New Zealand and Vanuatu, Dickey said.

The alleged Ponzi scheme — a type of fraud in which money from new investors is used to pay ones that joined earlier — ultimately collapsed in November 2009.

The securities watchdog also says Tindall made false and misleading statements to ASC investigators.

The allegations haven’t been proven. A hearing date will be set on May 9.

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