Abbotsford man sentenced to five months for Ponzi scheme

An Abbotsford man was sentenced Friday in Vancouver provincial court to five months in prison for contravening the B.C. Securities Act.

An Abbotsford man was sentenced Friday in Vancouver provincial court to five months in prison for contravening the B.C. Securities Act.

Malcolm Cameron Boyd Stevenson, 54, was given double credit for the 17 weeks he has already served since being arrested in March on a Canada-wide warrant for his role in a fraudulent investment scheme.

This means he has already served the full five-month sentence, but it is not yet known whether he will remain in prison while separate Criminal Code charges are dealt with in court.

Stevenson was first charged under the Securities Act in June 2007 in relation to his role with an investment vehicle called the International Fiduciary Corporation (IFC), which operated from 2004 to 2006.

In February 2008, the BCSS ordered Stevenson to pay $1.5 million for his involvement in the Ponzi scheme that took more than $23.3 million from 89 B.C. investors, who received returns of only $10.3 million.

He was also banned from trading securities and from being a manager or consultant in the securities market.

The matter went to trial in May 2010, and Stevenson was found guilty of three counts of contravening the Securities Act, but the sentencing was put on hold when he disappeared. A warrant for his arrest was issued earlier this year.

It is believed that Stevenson was living outside of Canada, and he was arrested at Pearson International Airport on March 21 while trying to re-enter the country.

According to the BCSC, IFC promised investors a return of six per cent a month through an “asset growth program.” The BCSS said that program did not exist and instead Stevenson and two colleagues – Daniel Eric Byer of Abbotsford and Preston Pinkett II of Virginia – used the money “to enrich themselves and keep the scheme going” by shifting money from new investors to older investors.

A woman who invested with the company said she was appalled at Friday’s ruling. Under the Securities Act, Stevenson faced a jail sentence of up to three years and a maximum $3 million fine.

“This has impacted so many people, and all he gets is five months?” she said.

The woman said she paid $140,000 to IFC and received initial returns of up to $6,000 before it fell apart. She said she did not lose a lot of money, but is upset for those who invested after her, with some sacrificing their life savings.

She said she now finds it difficult to trust people.

Stevenson next appears in Abbotsford provincial court on June 27 for a bail hearing on the Criminal Code charges  – one count each of fraud over $5,000 and theft over $5,000. A trial date has not yet been set.

Pinkett pleaded guilty in December 2008 to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and was sentenced the following year to two years in prison.

Byer has not been charged, according to the provincial court database.