Montréal, April 21, 2011 - On April 20, 2011, Judge Suzanne Coupal of the Court of Québec (Criminal and Penal Division), district of Montréal, imposed fines totalling $310,000 on Normand BouchardRespondent Normand Bouchard should not be confused with Normand Bouchard of Bouchard, Gratton, Beaudoin et Associés inc. and Desjardins Financial Security Investments Inc. in Brossard, holder of certificate No. 104 223, or Normen Bouchard of Services financiers Normen Bouchard inc. in Québec City, holder of certificate No. 104 225, who are not affected by this decision., ten times the minimum fine set by the Securities Act.
In January 2011, Normand Bouchard was found guilty of illegally acting as a securities adviser on 31 occasions without being registered as such with the Autorité des marchés financiers (the AMF).
In handing down her sentence, Judge Coupal stated that Thirty-one victims were lured by the representations of the defendant. After entrusting him with their savings, most of them lost the amounts they invested. These small investors used the defendant's services while facing difficult economic times. The losses range between $5,000 and $48,000 for each victim.
Judge Coupal noted: Although the defendant has no prior history of similar conduct, he told 31 victims that he was acting in accordance with the law. She added: A clear message must be sent to brokers and advisers who manage the assets of others that they must respect the law when exercising their functions.
The AMF accused Normand Bouchard of managing securities portfolios without holding a permit to provide such services. The victims met with Normand Bouchard after reading a classified ad, usually published in a local newspaper. The victim quickly opened an on-line brokerage account and sent information to Normand Bouchard that allowed him to use money saved in a locked-in retirement account or pension fund to make investments. Most of the victims, who knew little or nothing about the stock market, lost all their savings.
Two cease trade orders had been issued against Normand Bouchard. The first was issued in June 2007 and the second, in the matter of Carrefour, was issued in December 2009. Normand Bouchard is also one of the eleven people against whom the Integrated Market Enforcement Team filed a series of criminal charges related to the Carrefour operation in February 2011.
Fraud in Classified Ads - Be Careful!
The AMF reminds consumers to be careful about this type of approach and that funds withdrawn from your RRSP, LIRA or pension fund are taxable. The AMF also reminds you that you should never provide access to your account or reveal your password to a stranger. You should make sure the representative and firm you are dealing with are registered with the AMF and never take for granted that the person you are dealing with is telling the truth. When it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is!
Many other tips on avoiding fraud are available on the AMF website in the Prevent fraud section.
The Autorité des marchés financiers ("AMF") is the regulatory and oversight body for Québec's financial industry.
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