Montréal, June 15, 2011 - At the request of the Autorité des marchés financiers (the "AMF"), the Bureau de décision et de révision (the "Bureau") issued freeze and cease trade orders on June 10, 2011 as part of efforts to thwart a marketing scam set up by Warren English, a Laval resident, and Alain-André Desarzens and his spouse, Michèle Amiot, both of whom reside in Rimouski. Based on extensive and meticulous evidence presented by the AMF, the Bureau concluded that Warren English and Alain-André Desarzens had issued a mass e-mailing to thousands of potential investors with promises of pocketing a lot of money fast.
"A scam that's all too familiar"
Through Warren English's e-mail address (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Alain-André Desarzens' personal e-mail address (email@example.com) and his website (www.myleads.8k.com This link will open in a new window), the two men promoted numerous investments, including products under the names "Mega Pension Plan">and "Cherryshares.">They offered thousands of investors around the world, including two Quebeckers, the opportunity to generate possible returns ranging from U.S.$1,000 to $90,000 on a minimum investment of between U.S.$10 and $300.
The Bureau noted as follows in its decision: "Sadly, this type of financial scam is all too familiar. The bait works because the initial investment is so small. This creates a false sense of security, since investors believe that if they lose their investment, the loss is minimal. On the other hand, if the investment pays off, they stand to make a lot of money!"
"These seemingly modest amounts add up to anything but,">states the Bureau
The AMF investigation showed that Warren English, who has been under an Ontario Securities Commission cease trade order since 2003, used some of the funds from the illegal distribution of securities related to Mega Pension Plan to purchase a luxury condominium in Laval. Based on the data gathered by the AMF, Warren English moved nearly $525,000 between his accounts and those of his company, Méga International Business.
Alain-André Desarzens, who is under a cease trade order issued by the Pennsylvania Securities Commission in 1999, used the same modus operandi to amass U.S.$875,000. Some of these funds were transferred into his own account as well as into accounts opened by Michèle Amiot and Institut des médecines universelles, a company of which he is the CEO and sole director.
Cease trade and freeze orders, and website shutdown
As a conservatory measure, the Bureau issued the orders requested by the AMF to prohibit Warren English, Alain-André Desarzens, Michèle Amiot, as well as Méga International Business and Institut des médecines universelles, their officers, representatives and directors from carrying out any activity in respect of a transaction in securities and from pursuing activities as a securities adviser.
The Bureau also froze the funds, securities and other assets held by and on behalf of Warren English, Alain-André Desarzens, Michèle Amiot, Méga International Business and Institut des médecines universelles, and ordered Alain-André Desarzens' website (www.myleads.8k.com This link will open in a new window) to be shut down.
Investors who believe that they have been targeted by this or any other similar scam should contact the AMF Information Centre.
The Autorité des marchés financiers ("AMF") is the regulatory and oversight body for Québec's financial industry.
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