Montréal, July 20, 2011 - At the request of the Autorité des marchés financiers (the "AMF"), the Bureau de décision et de révision (the "Bureau") issued a decision on July 15, 2011 ordering Micro-Prêts inc. and two of its shareholders and officers, Dominic Lacroix and Marc-Olivier Boucher, to cease any activity in respect of a transaction in securities. The Bureau also froze the funds entrusted or belonging to this company.
More specifically, under this decision, Micro-Prêts inc., a consumer loan company, its first shareholder and chairman, Dominic Lacroix, and its secretary and treasurer, Marc-Olivier Boucher, are prohibited from carrying out any activity in respect of a transaction in securities, directly, indirectly or via the Internet, including as a securities adviser or dealer.
The Bureau also ordered the website www.micro-prets.com This link will open in a new window, which offers loans and investments to Quebec consumers, to be shut down.
In addition, the Bureau froze the funds entrusted or belonging to Micro-Prêts inc. and ordered Dominic Lacroix and Marc-Olivier Boucher not to withdraw or dispose of the funds belonging or entrusted to the company.
In its decision, the Bureau highlighted the following facts and allegations submitted by the AMF:
- Loans to Micro-Prêts clients appeared to be financed through illegal distributions that were not actually guaranteed.
- Micro-Prêts appeared to offer guarantees indiscriminately.
- Micro-Prêts purported to be a financial institution and claimed to be subject to control and oversight of the Banking Commission, an organization that does not exist in Canada.
- Investors were consistently solicited through a website that is still active and accessible.
- The AMF and the Office de la protection du consommateur wish to co-ordinate their efforts in order to protect the funds invested in Micro-Prêts.
- The AMF believes that such orders are necessary to prevent Micro-Prêts from continuing its illegal activities. Neither the company nor its shareholders or officers have the necessary qualifications or expertise, and this puts investors at risk and compromises the reliable, accurate and full disclosure of information essential to market integrity.
If you have done business with Micro-Prêts or have been approached by this company to invest, the AMF urges you to contact the AMF Information Centre toll-free at 1-877-525-0337.
The Autorité des marchés financiers ("AMF") is the regulatory and oversight body for Québec's financial industry.
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Sylvain Théberge: 514-940-2176
Québec City: 418-525-0337