Montréal – The Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) has launched a penal proceeding in the Court of Québec (Criminal and Penal Division), district of Montréal, against Rocco Di Stefano and is seeking total fines of $414,000, an amount three times higher than the minimum fines.
In its proceeding, the AMF filed 46 charges against Rocco Di Stefano for violating the Securities Act, R.S.Q. c. V-1.1 (the "Act"):
- by aiding, by act or omission, Zema Finances Inc., Eurovision Financial Services Ltd. and Vision Management Services Ltd. with the distribution of a form of investment subject to the Act, namely, promissory notes, without a prospectus approved by the AMF, thereby violating section 11 of the Act (23 counts);
- by acting as an adviser without being registered with the AMF, thereby violating section 148 of the Act (23 counts).
For exemplary reasons and due to the significant losses incurred by investors, the AMF is seeking total fines of $414,000 plus costs, which is three times higher than the minimum fines.
As the request of the AMF, on November 30, 2007, the Bureau de décision et de révision en valeurs mobilières (BDRVM) ordered Rocco Di Stefano to cease carrying on activities, directly, indirectly or by the Internet, for the purpose of trading in a form of investment subject to the Act and to cease carrying on business as an adviser.
In its decision, the BDRVM expressed concern about the following facts in particular:
- Rocco Di Stefano, a former pastor, used his reputation to solicit investors;
- Distributions of a form of investment subject to the Act were made without a receipt issued by the AMF;
- Rocco Di Stefano was acting illegally as a securities dealer and adviser to investors;
- Rocco Di Stefano told his clients that the investment was safe and guaranteed by the company;
- Rocco Di Stefano requested that cheques for payment of an investment be issued in his name;
- Rocco Di Stefano took advantage of his status as an insurance representative to contact the widows of insureds and recommend that they invest their insurance proceeds in Zema Finances Inc.;
- Rocco Di Stefano has continued to make distributions without holding the necessary registrations;
- One investor has been unable to recover his money; and
- The invested amounts represented several millions of dollars.
The Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) is the regulatory and oversight body for Québec’s financial sector.
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Frédéric Alberro (514) 940-2176
Québec City: 418-525-0337